JAIL GUITAR DOORS

MUMAL ABU-JAMAL will be executed next year, one of many political prisoners in American jails...

Chumbawamba‘s ALICE NUTTER has been speaking to NME about the forthcoming benefit for jailed Black Panther MUMIA ABU-JAMAL. Jamal, who is waiting on death row for Pennsylvania state governor TOM RIDGE to sign his death warrant, is only one of 120 death row in the state; 107 of them are black.

Why did Jamal’s case particularly merit Chumbawamba‘s attention.

“Well, most cases you just don’t hear about. There are loads of cases where there is no forensic evidence and the cops have lied, but the reason we heard about Mumia was because of his political past,” she told nme.com. “He was a member of the Black Panther Party and had connections with American anarchists and they spread the word.”

What about the other cases, of all the people who don’t have the same high-profile political connections? Alice saw parallels between the case of Jamal and jailed American Indian Movement activist Leonard Peltier, another radical jailed for a crime that many people believe he did not commit.

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“That’s what I’m saying, this is only one case that we’ve heard about,” she said. “There are hundreds more that this has happened to in America.”

The benefit gig, which is intended to raiose awareness about the case as much as funds, is very much a last resort for Mumia Abu Jamal, who has reached the end of the appeals process in America after the state Supreme Court denied his request for another trial.

“The only thing that they’ve got left to do is to kill him,” said Alice. Chumbawamba were also slightly critical of Amnesty International’s position on American death row prisoners. “They seem to have a funny position. They pick up on some cases but not on others,” she said. “They used to not touch gay cases. It would be interesting to know what their criteria for picking up cases is.”

Most rock and rollers are content to support “soft” causes, like making more money for themselves; here are a few, though, who have put their money – ond other things – where their mouths are to see justice done.

PRIMAL SCREAM & SATPAL RAM

JERRY DAMMERS & NELSON MANDELA

BOB DYLAN & RUBIN CARTER

SHAM 69 & GEORGE DAVIS

THE POGUES & THE BIRMINGHAM SIX

Are benefits a waste of time or a good way for pop stars to feed their already bloated egos? Post a message on Angst!

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