United Nations human rights experts believe U.S. authorities mistreated prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal by shackling him to his bed, denying visits from his family, and denying access to lawyers after being incarcerated for four decades.

Authorities convicted the political activist and journalist for the alleged murder of police officer Daniel Faulkner in Philadelphia in 1981. However, Abu-Jamal has denied the accusations and charges against him.

Mistreatment of Prisoner

Human rights experts said Abu-Jamal was admitted for surgery on April 10. They argued officials denied his family from visiting him and did not give him access to lawyers or a spiritual advisor.

“The use of shackles during his hospital stays is deplorable, and causes Mr. Abu-Jamal additional and unnecessary suffering,” the human rights experts said. They said prison personnel did not follow international standards on the treatment of prisoners.

Experts said Abu-Jamal had chronic heart condition and cirrhosis of the liver. This condition is caused by Hepatitis C, hypertension, and a severe skin condition. Medical professionals tested Abu-Jamal positive for the coronavirus.

“We are concerned that the medical condition of Mr. Abu-Jamal could be linked to years of medical neglect by the Department of Corrections of the state of Pennsylvania,” said the experts.

They said the treatment of Abu-Jamal had signs of racial discrimination conducted by prison and state authorities against people of African descent. In line with international human rights obligations, the experts are urging authorities to protect the wellbeing of Abu-Jamal, the United Nations News reported.

The UN human rights experts said the suspect’s communication and access to family and advisors should be restored immediately. The state of Pennsylvania must “immediately cease withholding information and access relevant to monitoring the status of Mr. Abu-Jamal’s human rights,” the experts said.