Mos Def to head concert for victims of justice system

Mos Def


Although a jury last week convicted Jose Padilla of supporting terrorism, rapper-actor Mos Def thinks that Padilla may not have gotten the due process the criminal justice system promises.

”We all know the history of insufficient evidence or testimony under duress -— at the very least, legal circumstances that demand some sort of reinvestigation, a new consideration for facts, and just the truth — basically saying these people are not the criminals they’re being made out to be,” he said in an interview Thursday.

”(It’s) the climate that we live in, people’s rights and liberties being taken advantage of — the whole situation with Jose Padilla,” he said. ”Basically the state being able to just charge any individual with anything and prosecute them on the basis of that.”

Mos Def is hoping to draw attention to what he sees as inequities in the United States’ criminal justice system this weekend with the 10th annual Black August benefit concert at the Nokia Theater in New York City. Other performers include socially minded rappers such as Talib Kweli and Dead Prez, and rapper Saigon.

Organized by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, Black August was organized to create awareness about the cases of people that the organization believes has been unfairly convicted, such as Assata Shakur, whose image is included on the concert flyer.

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