WOLE SOYINKA, NOBEL-PRIZE WINNING
AFRICAN AUTHOR AND HUMAN RIGHTS
ACTIVIST, WILL HOLD A PRESS CONFERENCE
IN PITTSBURGH ON JUNE 10, 2000, AFTER MEETING
WITH MUMIA ABU-JAMAL ON DEATH ROW
Pittsburgh, PA. June 2, 2000. Wole Soyinka, one of the world’s
great writers, will hold a press conference in Pittsburgh on Saturday,
June 10, 2000,shortly after his meeting with Mumia Abu-Jamal on
death row at State Correctional Institution Greene in Waynesburg,
Pennsylvania. The time and place of the press conference will be
Soyinka, author of distinguished plays, poetry, novels, essays, and
memoirs, won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986, the first
African writer to do so. He has received numerous other prestigious
awards, including honorary doctorates from universities around the world.
His most famous book is MYTH, LITERATURE, AND THE
AFRICAN WORLD (1975). His most recent book is THE OPEN
SORE OF A CONTINENT: PERSONAL NARRATIVE
OF THE NIGERIAN CRISIS (1996).
Always outspoken on issues of justice, which he considers to be
“the first condition of humanity,” Soyinka is considered by
many to be the conscience of Nigeria and one of the most outspoken
defenders of human rights in Africa and worldwide. Soyinka is no
stranger to prisons and the death penalty.
He was arrested and held as a political prisoner by the Nigerian
government between 1967 and 1969, an experience that resulted
in the book entitled THE MAN DIED: PRISON NOTES (1972).
In 1997 the regime of military dictator Sani Abacha falsely accused
him of bombing attacks against the army and sentenced him to death,
a decision reversed by a subsequent government.
Mumia Abu-Jamal, an award-winning African-American journalist,
has been on death row since his arrest and conviction for allegedly
killing a Philadelphia police officer in 1981, despite questionable
evidence, police coercion of witnesses, false cofessions concocted
by the police, constitutional violations during the original trial, and
new evidence unearthed during the appeal process.
At the time of his arrest, he was president of the Philadelphia branch
of the Association of Black Journalists. He holds an M.A. degree
from California State University, Dominguez Hills. Two of his books –
LIVE FROM DEATH ROW (1995) and DEATH BLOSSOMS:
REFLECTIONS OF A PRISONER OF CONSCIENCE (1997)
– have been translated into several languages. His most recent book is
ALL THINGS CENSORED (2000).
A federal court is currently reviewing his final, habeas corpus appeal.