Former death row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal, whose execution sentence was overturned last year and prosecutors decided to stop pursuing it, joined the prison's general population for the first time Friday since he was convicted for the 1981 murder of Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner, according to the Department of Corrections.

Abu-Jamal had spent seven weeks in solitary confinement, where he was committed for up to 23 hours per day, since his move to the medium-security Mahanoy facility in Frackville, Schuylkill County

"This is a very important moment for him, his family, and all of his supporters," former appeals attorney and Widener University law professor Judith Ritter said in a recent statement. "We are all grateful for the roles played by so many in getting him off death row after so very long."

The National Lawyer's Guild and Human Rights Research fund launched a letter-writing campaign protesting Abu-Jamal's confinement and said that the move to general population came only hours after they submitted a petition with over 5,500 signatures advocating the measure to the Department of Justice.


"PLEASE NOTE that while this is a victory in transferring Mumia out of the torturous Restricted Housing Unit (RHU), we call upon the closure of ALL restricted housing units," the site said. "Furthermore, we call upon the IMMEDIATE RELEASE of Mumia Abu-Jamal and are not disillusioned by this transfer."

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