Life Saving Treatment for Mumia to Begin!

BREAKING NEWS: The Department of Corrections (DOC) told Mumia today that they will provide him with the hepatitis C fast-acting antiviral treatment beginning next week.  In Court the DOC filed a status report today declaring that they were going to treat Mumia. This treatment consists of one pill per day for 12-24 weeks, and has over a 90% cure rate.

To put it plainly- we did it.

Exactly two years ago yesterday, Mumia was critically ill in renal failure at the Pennsylvania Schuylkilll Medical Center.  He and his family, friends, lawyers, and world-wide supporters have been waging a heroic fight for hepatitis C treatment ever since.

For the last 53 days, the DOC, prison medical staff, and Legal Department have stood in contempt of court following the order to treat Mumia. The DOC in defiance of the Injunction filed a stay, hoping the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals would bail them out and block Mumia’s treatment.

On Monday, the DOC lost their 3rd circuit appeal. In an order signed by Judge Ambrose, the United States 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals denied the DOC’s request to withhold treatment from Mumia. The court upheld the preliminary injunction order, issued on 1/3/17, by District Judge Robert Mariani ordering the treatment. On two occasions, the 3rd Circuit Courts have ruled that the Pennsylvania DOC “protocol” for treating hep C is unconstitutional and violates the 8th Amendment. 

Mumia’s attorneys in Abu-Jamal vs. Wetzel, Bret Grote and Robert Boyle, have not only succeeded in getting Mumia the hepatitis C cure, but have also paved the way for over 200 people in Pennsylvania prisons to receive hep C treatment this year! Thousands more people who are at great risk from Hep C complications in prison will be able to receive treatment because of this “first of its kind” federal court order victory establishing a right to hep C treatment for prisoners.

That is the good news.

The bad news is that Mumia has not been treated and is sicker. Mumia was told that he now has an F4 score, meaning cirrhosis of the liver. This progression of liver damage is a direct consequence of being denied treatment for two years, and has increased the possibility of other health complications and potential for liver cancer.

We must stay vigilant. We must insist that the treatment be given and completed in full, and we need to support the lawsuits Abu-Jamal vs. Kerestes and Abu-Jamal vs. Wetzel as they continue to hold the Pennsylvania DOC accountable.

On April 24, Mumia will be in court on his original criminal conviction in the case Cook v. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, in the Common Pleas Court of Philadelphia, presiding Judge Leon Tucker. Mumia has been in prison for 36 years too many- 29 of which were spent on death row. Free Mumia!


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