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Speaking Out on Pennsylvania’s New Law Censoring Convicts’ Speech

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett has signed into law a bill that critics say tramples the free speech rights of prisoners. The “Revictimization Relief Act” authorizes the censoring of public addresses of prisoners or former offenders if judges agree that allowing them to speak would cause “mental anguish” to the victim. The measure was introduced after one of the state’s most famous prisoners, journalist and former Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal, delivered a pretaped commencement address for graduating students at Vermont’s Goddard College earlier this month. The speech was opposed by the widow of Daniel Faulkner, the police officer who Abu-Jamal was convicted of killing. The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania has criticized the new measure, calling it “overbroad and vague,” and unable to “pass constitutional muster under the First Amendment.” Speaking to us from prison, Abu-Jamal says that “by signing that bill into law, [Gov. Corbett] has violated both of his oaths as governor and as an attorney.”

1 comment

  1. avatar
    Sanda Aronson November 1, 2014 6:24 pm 

    I have been “paying attention” to the story of Mumia Abu-Jamal for a long time, primarily via Democracy Now and another WBAI origin radio show, “Where We Live”. My first piece of art in support of Mumia was done in August, 1999 and Howard Zinn wrote me that he had one of the first editions of the limited edition xerographic (my word for multiples on paper that I do, limited due to cost; my father was a mailman and I have given away much mail art; about 600plus of the Mumia on paper. I have now put FREE MUMIA art on my Flickr public photostream page: the very newest
    piece came after the first recent story on DemNow about the law being passed.

    The piece for Mumia and Leonard Peltier, 70, is the newest on my Flickr public photostream page:
    http://www.Flickr dot com/photos/sanda-aronson-the-artist/ (Sometimes a link triggers automatic
    “awaiting moderation”).

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