Mutulu Shakur denied compassionate release despite terminal cancer diagnosis


After 36 years behind bars as a political prisoner, Mutulu Shakur is on his deathbed. The movement elder, healer, and radical Black freedom fighter was diagnosed with stage 3 bone marrow cancer in June of this year. Despite qualifying for compassionate release and having been eligible for parole since 2016, prison and federal authorities have refused to grant Shakur his freedom. With time running out, activists gathered at the Department of Justice on the weekend of July 23 to demand Shakur’s release. Rattling the Bars co-host Mansa Musa reports from the rally to free Mutulu Shakur.

Born in Baltimore and raised in Queens, Mutulu Shakur first became politically active in the 1960s as a member of the Revolutionary Action Movement and Republic of New Afrika. In 1970, Shakur helped found the People’s Drug Program at Lincoln Hospital in the South Bronx alongside the Black Panther Party and the Young Lords. As the husband of Afemi Shakur, Mutulu Shakur was the stepfather of Tupac Shakur. He was convicted in 1988 for his role in the prison escape of Assata Shakur, as well as for the 1981 robbery of a Brink’s armored car in Nanuet, New York, which resulted in the deaths of two police officers and a security guard.

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