Written by: Khalif Thompson
Today in Hip Hop News, we sadly report that Mutulu Shakur, Pac's stepfather, has been jailed for more than 35 years and has been diagnosed with a rare and incurable form of blood cancer.
Doctors have given the 71-year-old up to six months to live, and campaigners are pushing to free the American activist and former Black Liberation Army member so he may say farewell to his family.
Brad Thomson, Shakur's lawyer, told NBC News, “His health situation is extremely dire right now. He’s very much on an end-of-life trajectory. We’re looking at a matter of months at the most but, realistically, it could be a matter of days or weeks.”
He went on: “At this point, the issue is getting him released so he can say goodbye to his loved ones, his family, his children, and grandchildren. To be surrounded by loved ones, so he can die in dignity, peace and comfort outside of prison.”
Shakur, who was diagnosed with myeloma in 2019, was sentenced to 60 years in jail in 1988 on offenses that included bank robbery, armed bank robbery, and bank robbery murder. He was also convicted of helping Assata Shakur, 2Pac's step-aunt, in her escape from a New Jersey prison in 1979.
Following his diagnosis, Shakur petitioned for "compassionate release" in May 2020, but U.S. District Judge Charles Haight Jr. refused his request, stating that his health hadn't worsened sufficiently and that his crimes were too serious.
Haight later expressed in the ruling, “Should it develop that Shakur’s condition deteriorates further, to the point of approaching death, he may apply again to the Court, for a release that in those circumstances could be justified as ‘compassionate,'”
A representative for the United States District Court acknowledged that Shakur had filed for parole once more, and that the motion is presently pending. He is now being held at a federal medical facility in Lexington, Kentucky.
Shakur's followers have always contended that his actions were political, not criminal. Jomo Muhammad, a Malcom X Grassroots Movement leader working to free Shakur, told NBC News that his detention was related to his activity with revolutionary Black organisations in the 1960s.
Muhammad comments “Fifty years later, the United States government continues to hold a grudge. You can make the argument that he is, in fact, a political prisoner.”