New photos of an apparently frail and ill Mumia Abu-Jamal, with visibly darkened, hardened skin as a result of complications from diabetes, were released Tuesday morning via email by his supporters, friends and family.
They are continuing to maintain a vigil outside State Correctional Institution Mahanoy, the Pennsylvania prison where the 60-year-old former Black Panther and now-famous prison journalist and radio commentator, convicted of the 1982 murder of a white Philadelphia police officer, fell ill. They are demanding that he get proper medical care and have charged that prison officials are attempting to kill him through medical neglect.
The photos, apparently taken Monday, come after an email written by Abu-Jamal’s wife, Wadiya Jamal, was distributed to his supporters. It is a rare public statement from Wadiya Jamal, who historically has not made many public comments about her husband or his case. In the email she says that she was not notified by the prison of her husband’s illness and was then blocked from access to him until the protests began.
Abu-Jamal, a former Philadelphia radio broadcaster, garnered international attention last week when supporters learned that he had untreated diabetes and was briefly shipped to the intensive-care unit at Schuylkill Medical Center in Pottsville, a hospital near SCI Mahanoy.
These latest photos of Abu-Jamal were released by the Campaign to Bring Mumia Home. In a statement accompanying their release, Johanna Fernandez, a professor in the Department of Black and Latino Studies at Baruch College and an increasingly prominent leader in the movement around Abu-Jamal, explained why it was important for the world to see his condition:
We share these photos to give you a sense of the gravity of Mumia’s condition. He has lost over 50 lbs and his entire body is covered with a hard, leathery layer of jet-black skin that is bloody, painful and itchy.
We continue to demand that he be allowed to see an independent team of specialists chosen by his family and supporters.
The photos are much different from the ones the Abu-Jamal movement likes to show, of him looking powerful and smiling.