Dozens of civil rights groups have joined an urgent push for the compassionate release of longtime political prisoner Mutulu Shakur from prison. The 72-year-old Black liberation activist is said by prison doctors to have less than six months to live, after being diagnosed with stage 3 bone marrow cancer. Shakur was part of the Black nationalist group Republic of New Afrika that worked with the Black Panther Party and others, and is the stepfather of the late rapper icon Tupac Shakur. He was convicted in 1988 of conspiracy in several armed robberies, one of which resulted in the deaths of a guard and two police officers, and also for aiding the 1979 prison escape of Assata Shakur.
We speak with Nkechi Taifa, a lawyer and longtime supporter of Shakur, as well as Brad Thomson, attorney with the People’s Law Office, which has filed urgent lawsuits to secure Shakur’s release. “He is in a desperate medical situation,” says Thomson, who calls any claims that Shakur would reoffend if released “patently false and absolutely outrageous.” “It is time for him to live out his remaining days in the comfort of his family and friends,” says Taifa.