Abu-Jamal's Radio Broadcasts
interview with Lynne Stewart - 10-19-02
Lynne Stewart: Good
afternoon Mumia. What a pleasure this is.
Mumia Abu-Jamal: It is a pleasure for us both I hope.
LS: I think so.
MAJ: You have been seems to me. Singled out by the highest
levels of the Justice department for something that was not a crime.
Either now or even up until the signing of the infamous Patriot
Act. Would you tell me what that was ?
The Justice Department decided that things that I did as a lawyer
are now to be outlawed. Are now to be made into crimes in order
to deter other lawyers from vigorously defending people. What I
basically did was I issued a press release on behalf of my client.
They said that this press release was materially aiding a
terrorist organization. And as they have accused so many others
recently of that same crime, it seems to have no bounds what so
ever, and can be used just about for anything.
MAJ: So was this essentially illegal communication with your
LS: Well they had put on us a certain prison regulation,
ah this is something that Leonard Peltier also suffers under in
the federal system, it is called a Special Administrative Measure.
Which lawyers and clients, not clients, but people that we represent
must sign on to say that you will not communicate with the press
on behalf of your client, thus making it impossible for any First
Amendment right to be protected. In other words Sheikh Omar Abdel
Rahman was entombed in Minnesota he was not allowed to communicate
with anyone but his lawyers and his wife in Egypt, once a month.
We in controvention of these regulations, did make press releases
on his behalf, but it is only now that has become an indictable
MAJ: Isnt this kind of a- on its face violation of
the first amendment?
LS: Isnt! I could not agree with you more. But you
know they hide everything behind that cloak of security within the
prison and now of course security for the whole nation. They are
going to be the protectors of Americans, they who have done so much
to make it impossible to protect this nation.
MAJ: So is it not also a fact that the U.S. government through
the Justice Department monitored your communications with your client?
LS: Yes this press release was in May of 2000. For the next
six months they went back and forth about whether they would let
me into the prison again. They finally said oh yes you can go into
the prison and we entered the prison again, only meanwhile they
had set their cameras and tape recordings. So that every conversation
that I had with Sheik Omar by telephone or in the prison were monitored.
They heard ever word that was said. In total degrogation of the
Sixth Amendment and of course the attorney client priviledge which
is part of that.
MAJ: It appears that is not just vanishing in federal prisons,
it is vanishing in state prisons as well. Is that not so?
LS: Well I think so. You know the states are not very slow
to follow any leads that big brother gives them, so I think that
most lawyers nowadays are sort of looking over their shoulders and
thinking to themselves, who may be listening in and if that doesnt
create a chilling affect as you well know assumed that they might
be listening, but not that they might use these things as a basis
for further prosecution.
MAJ: I would hope that you have heard from a number of your
colleagues who are in stark protest against this latest governmental
LS: The New York times ah wrote a piece in their magazine
called Left behind, I think more to encourage people
to leave me behind, than to ah- but of course they have been saying
that the left has been dead in this country for many years but to
the contrary we are alive and well and I have gotten outstanding
support, not only from the so called radical or leftist lawyers
of the National Lawyers Guild and other organizations but from the
other organizations but from the everyday mainstream lawyers who
understand that if we cant do this work, even within this
racist criminal justice system, the way we have always done it,
there will be no right to defend anymore. That right will just vanish.
So I have gotten marvelous support, I once said that you have to
die to find out how many people love you, but I am getting it in
MAJ: Well that is very good to know. I think that it should
also it obviously I think be said that this is not kind of
a lawyers right, this is a right of the accused?
MAJ: So it potentially affects thousands, if not tens of
thousands of people, and perhaps millions.
LS: I said to a young documentary maker, you know it really
not about whether or not this can happen to you, but it is really
about is if it does happen to you, who are you going to call? Because
there wont be a lawyer to call. The whole movement aspect
of lawyering will disappear completely as they just knock us off
one by one. And to me that is the real essence of this work, is
that we be permitted to lawyer in the way that we lawyered throughout
the 60s, the 70s, the 80s and defend people such
as yourself in
these cases as political people. Not just as defendant number 10872.
YOU HAVE ONE MINUTE LEFT TO TALK
MAJ: Lynn Stewart it is been my pleasure to talk to you and
have others share our conversation, other than the government of
course, and ah I support you, and I think what you are doing is
LS: And I may say, Mumia I support wholeheartedly. I am sitting
in front of beautiful banner with African Cloth saying Free Mumia
and all political prisoners, and I been my work for thirty years
and it will always be my work.
MAJ: We are going to have to create a new banner saying free
LS: Yes, I am for that.
MAJ: Thank you very much.
LS: Thank you.
MAJ: All the best, Ona Move.
LS: You too dear. Bye bye
Check out Mumia's
"Faith of Our Fathers: An Examination of the Spiritual Life
of African and African-American People" at www.africanworld.com
The Power of Truth
is Final -- Free Mumia!
International Concerned Family & Friends of MAJ
P.O. Box 19709
Philadelphia, PA 19143
Phone - 215-476-8812/ Fax - 215-476-6180
E-mail - AND
OFFER YOUR SERVICES!
Send our brotha
some LOVE and LIGHT at:
175 Progress Drive
Waynesburg, PA 15370
WE WHO BELIEVE
IN FREEDOM CAN *NOT* REST!!