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Mutulu Shakur, the stepfather of Tupac Shakur, has been released on parole after spending over 30 years in prison, according to NBC News.

The U.S. Parole Commission granted Shakur’s request for parole in October due to his ongoing battle with cancer. Officials  said that the 72-year-old’s health has “significantly deteriorated” since he was diagnosed with the disease, rendering him “infirm of mind and body” and “no longer physically capable of committing any federal, state or local crime,” according to the report.

Shakur is battling with stage-3 multiple myeloma, a rare blood cancer that can drastically impact the bones and kidneys. Currently, the activist is being held at a federal medical center in Lexington, Kentucky, a facility that tends to incarcerated people who require around the clock care.

“There are a lot of tears of joy,” Jomo Muhammad, an organizer with the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, who has been working to free Shakur, told the outlet of his reaction to the news.

“There’s still disbelief because we were steadying ourselves for another denial. Now folks are excited about being able to reunite Mutulu with his family. We were crying together. It’s a long time overdue.”


Why was Mutulu Shakur in prison?

Shakur has been behind bars since 1988 for his involvement in a string of armed robberies that occurred in New York and Connecticut between 1976 and 1981. The former Black Liberation Army member lead a group of revolutionaries as they carried out the elaborate heist but one robbery later ended in tragedy. On Oct. 20, 1981, several members of the group stole around $1.6 million from a Brinks armored truck, fatally shooting three people in the process, according to The New York Post. 

Although Shakur was present during the heist, he has vehemently denied his involvement in shooting the robbery victims. Evidence has also failed to show that Shakur was responsible for the killings. Supporters of Shakur have maintained his innocence, arguing that he is a “political prisoner” due to his activism. At the time of the incident, he was a prominent acupuncturist helping to address rampant drug addiction among young Black people. He was also the co-founder of the Republic of New Afrika movement and participated in several U.N. presentations helping to combat discrimination against Black communities.

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The fight for Mutulu Shakur is far from over

Throughout his 37-year-long prison sentence, Shakur has been denied parole three times, twice in 2016 and once in April of 2022. Organizers have pushed for Shakur’s release hoping that authorities will allow him to spend his final days with his family due to his condition. Sources say he has lost a drastic amount of weight and relies on IV feeding tubes. Medical officials believe that Shakur may have less than six months to live.

After his release, authorities will continue to monitor Shakur for up to four months. While excited, Muhammad cautioned that the fight for the prominent activist’s freedom is far from over.

“He was not exonerated. He was given medical parole, which means he could still be snatched back from us,” Muhammad clarified. “His release doesn’t end his cancer. We’re preparing for him to come home, and we have to figure out transportation because his condition has deteriorated so much that he can’t fly commercial. He’s been able to make it longer than what the doctors have given him, but he still has cancer and he’s still dying,” he added.

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