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Mumia book barred in Indiana

May 21, 2004 | Page 2

MUMIA ABU-JAMAL'S new book has been banned by the Indiana prison system. On April 20, state prison officials denied a copy of the Pennsylvania political prisoner's new book--We Want Freedom: A Life in the Black Panther Party--to Zolo Agona Azania, who has spent most of the last 23 years on Indiana's death row.

The Security Threat Group Coordinator of the Indiana Department of Correction confiscated the book, specifically citing one chapter: "The Empire Strikes Back: COINTELPRO." The chapter is based on information from available documents--many of them made public by the federal government itself--and describes the FBI's fanatical campaign against revolutionary groups such as the Panthers.

When asked by the publisher, South End Press, to explain why the book was confiscated, one state prison official said, "Probably because it has gang signs."

This isn't the first time that authorities have tried to silence Mumia--whose death sentence was overturned in 2001, but whose murder conviction was upheld. In particular, Philadelphia police have conducted a fanatical campaign, for example, pressuring National Public Radio to bar Mumia as a commentator in the late 1990s.

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