On Oct. 4 death row political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal, was made an honorary citizen of Paris during an award ceremony in the French capitol. Former U.S. political prisoner and social activist, Angela Davis, accepted the award on behalf of Abu-Jamal, who has been on Pennsylvania's death row for over 21 years.
The last time that the city of Paris bestowed such an award was back in 1971. The recipient then was the legendary artist, Pablo Picasso.
The socialist mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoe, characterized the death penalty as "barbaric" and went on to say that "as long as there is a place on this planet where one can be killed in the name of the community, we haven't finished our work." (French Press Agency, Oct. 4) He raised his fist in the air and chanted, "Mumia is a Parisian!"
Davis tied Mumia's case to the struggle against the occupation of Iraq and also against the racist attacks on immigrants upon receiving the award.
Abu-Jamal is regarded worldwide as the most well known political prisoner on death row. He was falsely accused back in December, 1981 for the shooting death of a white Philadelphia police officer. Another person has come forward to claim responsibility for the death of Officer Daniel Faulkner. Both the federal and state appeals courts have to this day refused to hear this significant testimony that should have lead to the freedom of Abu-Jamal.
France abolished the death penalty in 1981. Throughout its school system, students are required to study the case of Abu-Jamal.