For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

Tasha Moro, Communications Coordinator, 212-679-5100, ext. 15

NLG Files Urgent Appeal Request to UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Citing Life-Threatening Denial of Medical Care to Mumia Abu-Jamal

NEW YORK, NY - Members of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) Heidi Boghosian and Natsu Saito, with Kathleen Cleaver of the Human Rights Research Fund, today delivered an Urgent Appeal Request on behalf of Mumia Abu-Jamal to Juan Méndez, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture. The Request addresses the life-threatening denial of medical care to the 61-year-old journalist, political activist, and human rights defender who has been described as “perhaps America’s most famous prisoner.”

According to the Request, Mr. Abu-Jamal, currently in the custody of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, has life-threatening medical conditions that have been caused and/or exacerbated by his conditions of confinement. It reports that prison officials have consistently denied him appropriate medical treatment and adequate nutrition, and blocked access to his doctors, his lawyers and his family members. As a result, Mumia Abu-Jamal’s health has deteriorated rapidly over the past four months, and has now reached a crisis point where his life appears to be in imminent danger.

“We are concerned by the pattern that has emerged of willful neglect of Mr. Abu-Jamal’s serious, even life-threatening, medical issues, interspersed with responses that deal with particular symptoms in a scattershot fashion, rather than trying to identify and address the underlying causes of his potentially life-threatening illness,” the Request states.


If you think a better world is possible, support our people-powered media model today

The corporate media puts the interests of the 1% ahead of all of us. That's wrong. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good.

If you believe the survival of independent media is vital to a healthy democracy, please step forward with a donation to nonprofit Common Dreams today:

The Request asks the Special Rapporteur to review of Mumia Abu-Jamal’s treatment under the Urgent Appeal procedure and to urge the United States government to comply with its obligations under international human rights law by ensuring, immediately, that Mr. Abu-Jamal (1) be provided regular and ongoing examinations, reliable diagnoses, and medically appropriate, comprehensive treatment; (2) be provided access to an endocrinologist, a dermatologist, an oncologist, and other specialist(s) as necessary; (3) be provided with a diet appropriate to his medical conditions; and (4) be assured of contact with his attorneys.

“For over 30 years, from death row, Mumia Abu-Jamal provided a thoughtful and powerful voice for the dispossessed, and he continues to do so from his sickbed. It now appears that only other human rights defenders can prevent his voice from being silenced by death as a result of state sanctioned medical neglect,” the Urgent Appeal Request concludes.

View the full Urgent Appeal Request to Juan Méndez, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, here.


This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news outlet. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Won't Exist.

Please select a donation method:

The National Lawyers Guild is dedicated to the need for basic and progressive change in the structure of our political and economic system. Through its members--lawyers, law students, jailhouse lawyers and legal workers united in chapters and committees--the Guild works locally, nationally and internationally as an effective political and social force in the service of the people.

Share This Article