PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ The Dec. 2 execution of Mumia Abu-Jamal was stayed by a federal judge on Tuesday as the former journalist and Black Panther began another round of appeals.

The stay was expected. It came 13 days after Gov. Tom Ridge signed the second death warrant for Abu-Jamal, who was convicted of murdering a police officer in 1981.

This latest appeal is the first to the federal courts. His appeal to state courts ended earlier this month when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's rejection of his state appeal.

Abu-Jamal, 45, was convicted of murder in the shooting death of Philadelphia police Officer Daniel Faulkner. The appeal argues that prosecutors manipulated witnesses to falsely identify Abu-Jamal as the shooter, and suppressed and destroyed critical evidence.

It also claims the judge was biased, blacks were improperly kept off the jury and Abu-Jamal's original defense was inadequate.