U.S. revolutionary activist Mumia Abu Jamal will begin receiving treatment for hepatitis C next week, Philly Voice reports, citing recently-released court papers.
Jamal, who is serving a life sentence at the Mahanoy State Correctional Institution in Philadelphia, has been demanding treatment since 2015, when he suffered from a renal failure.
Now, he will receive antiviral medication that consists of one pill per day for 12 to 24 weeks, Philly Voice adds. The medication has an estimated 90-percent cure rate.
The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, DOC, was ordered on Monday to begin providing medication after it lost its appeal to withhold treatment in the state’s Third Circuit court.
“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,” Jamal’s legal representatives wrote in a statement.
“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.”
The ruling marks a major victory for Mumia and others in similar circumstances. Now, thousands of prisoners who suffer from hepatitis C will be able to receive treatment because the federal court order sets a precedent, Prison Radio reports.
The treatment, however, will not solve all of his medical problems. Mumia, who suffers from cirrhosis of the liver, is now at greater risk for other health complications and potential liver cancer. This is a direct consequence of being denied treatment for two years, according to his legal representatives.
“We must stay vigilant,” they wrote in a statement.
“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.”
Jamal, a former member of the Black Panther Party, was arrested and charged with killing white police Officer Daniel Faulkner in Philadelphia in December 1981. One year later, he was tried, convicted and sentenced to death.
In 2011, the United States Supreme Court declared the death penalty unconstitutional in his case, and he was re-sentenced to life in prison without parole. He and many activists have maintained that he is innocent.