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Petition to Free Lynne Stewart: Save Her Life - Release Her Now!

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  • Mark S Bilk
    A CRI DE COEUR FROM ARCHBISHOP DESMOND TUTU ON THE PERSECUTION OF LYNNE STEWART It is devastating, totally unbelievable. Is this in a democracy, the only
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 20, 2013

      "It is devastating, totally unbelievable. Is this in a
      "democracy," the only super-power? We must contact heads of
      churches and other religious bodies in the U.S. and elsewhere -
      civil rights leaders, lawyers' organizations.

      Praying God's blessings on your efforts."

      Desmond Tutu

      Lynne Stewart is renowned throughout the United States as a
      criminal defense lawyer who, for over 30 years, defended the
      poor, the disadvantaged and those targeted by the police and
      the State.

      Such has been her reputation as a fearless lawyer ready to
      challenge those in power that judges assigned her routinely
      to act for defendants whom no attorney was willing to represent.

      Now, Lynne Stewart needs our urgent help or she may die
      in prison.

      In 1995, Lynne Stewart was appointed by a federal court to
      represent the blind Egyptian cleric Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman,
      who was accused of conspiring to blow up New York landmarks. She
      became co-counsel with former Attorney General Ramsey Clark
      and renowned civil liberties attorney Abdeen Jabaar.

      Despite Lynne Stewart having marshaled evidence demonstrating
      the innocence of her client, and pointing indisputably to the
      hand of the government in the plots attributed to her client,
      Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman was convicted and sentenced to life
      imprisonment plus 65 years!

      Special Administrative Measures (SAMS) were imposed, violating
      first, fifth and sixth amendment rights of defendants and
      attorneys alike.

      These measures placed severe restrictions on any communication
      of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman communication with the outside

      On April 9, 2002, Attorney General Ashcroft made an
      unprecedented appearance on the Late Night Show of David
      Letterman, a nationally viewed entertainment talk-show,
      to announce that the Justice Department was prosecutIng
      Lynne Stewart for providing "material aid to a terrorist

      This "material aid" was her own person and her function as
      defense attorney. The "material aid" consisted of a Press
      Release conveying the views of the Sheikh and given to a
      Reuter's correspondent - an action protected by the first
      amendment and the free speech rights of Sheikh Omar Abdel
      Rahman and Lynne Stewart alike.

      The Justice Department of George Bush and of Barack Obama
      prosecuted Lynne Stewart and demanded 30 years in prison. This
      attack upon due process and basic democratic rights was aimed
      at every attorney in the United States. The intent was and
      remains to destroy democratic rights and protections that date
      to Magna Carta.

      Lynne Stewart was railroaded to prison in a show trial
      evocative of the era of Joseph Stalin. Broad public protest
      caused presiding Judge John Koetl to declare Lynne Stewart
      "an asset to the nation" while sentencing her to 28 months in
      federal prison.

      Pressed by the Justice Department, the Appellate Court,
      breaking precedent, directed Judge Koetl to increase her
      sentence drastically, to revoke her bail and remand her to
      prison despite the fact that Lynne Stewart had the right to
      appeal her conviction to the Supreme Court.

      Judge Koetl, yielding to this immense pressure, increased
      his original 28 month sentence to ten years. This has become,
      effectively, a death sentence for Lynne Stewart. Urgent surgery
      was delayed 18 months by the prison authorities. Her breast
      cancer, in remission before imprisonment, metastasized and
      spread to her lymph nodes, bones and lungs.

      For every person of conscience, there is no time to lose. We
      must mobilize world opinion to stop the judicial and political
      murder of Lynne Stewart, an ominous measure of the mass
      repression in preparation for working people and the oppressed.

      The campaign to save the life of Lynne Stewart is a first line
      of defense against a ruling class rapidly destroying the rights
      obtained through generations of struggle as a ruthless system
      prepares to subjugate us all.


      [Note: If you are using a computer with an older operating
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      petition signatories.]

      Click on this url link to sign the petition:



      Lynne Stewart has devoted her life to the oppressed - a constant
      advocate for the countless many deprived in the United States
      of their freedom and their rights.

      Unjustly charged and convicted for the "crime" of providing
      her client with a fearless defense, the prosecution of Lynne
      Stewart is an assault upon the basic freedoms of us all.

      After years of post-conviction freedom, her bail was revoked
      arbitrarily and her imprisonment ordered, precluding surgery
      she had scheduled in a major New York hospital.

      The sinister meaning of the relentless persecution of Lynne
      Stewart is unmistakably clear. Given her age and precarious
      health, the ten-year sentence she is serving is a virtual
      death sentence.

      Since her imprisonment in the Federal Prison in Carswell,
      Texas her urgent need for surgery was delayed 18 months - so
      long, that the operating physician pronounced the condition as
      "the worst he had seen."

      Now, breast cancer, which had been in remission prior to her
      imprisonment, has reached Stage Four. It has appeared in her
      lymph nodes, on her shoulder, in her bones and her lungs.

      Her daughter, a physician, has sounded the alarm: "Under the
      best of circumstances, Lynne would be in a battle of the most
      serious consequences with dangerous odds. With cancer and
      cancer treatment, the complications can be as debilitating
      and as dangerous as the cancer itself."

      In her current setting, where trips to physicians involve
      attempting to walk with 10 pounds of shackles on her wrists
      and ankles, with connecting chains, Lynne Stewart has lacked
      ready access to physicians and specialists under conditions
      compatible with medical success.

      It can take weeks to see a medical provider in prison
      conditions. It can take weeks to report physical changes and
      learn the results of treatment; and when held in the hospital,
      Lynne has been shackled wrist and ankle to the bed.

      This medieval "shackling" has little to do with any appropriate
      prison control. She is obviously not an escape risk.

      We demand abolition of this practice for all prisoners, let
      alone those facing surgery and the urgent necessity of care
      and recovery.

      It amounts to cruel and unusual punishment, in violation of
      human rights.

      There is immediate remedy available for Lynne Stewart. Under
      the 1984 Sentencing Act, after a prisoner request, the Bureau
      of Prisons can file a motion with the Court to reduce sentences
      "for extraordinary and compelling reasons." Life threatening
      illness is foremost among these and Lynne Stewart meets every
      rational and humane criterion for compassionate release.

      To misconstrue the gravamen of this compassionate release
      by conditioning such upon being at death's door - released,
      if at all, solely to die - is a cruel mockery converting a
      prison sentence, wholly undeserved, into a death sentence.

      The New York Times, in an editorial (2/12), has excoriated
      the Bureau of Prisons for their restrictive crippling of this
      program. In a 20-year period, the Bureau released a scant 492
      persons - an average of 24 a year out of a population that
      exceeds 220,000.

      We cry out against the bureaucratic murder of Lynne Stewart.

      We demand Lynne Stewart's immediate release to receive urgent
      medical care in a supportive environment indispensable to the
      prospect of her survival and call upon the Bureau of Prisons
      to act immediately.

      If Lynne's original sentence of 28 months had not been
      unreasonably, punitively increased to 10 years, she would be
      home now -- where her medical care would be by her choice and
      where those who love her best would care for her. Her isolation
      from this loving care would end.

      Prevent this cruelty to Lynne Stewart whose lifelong commitment
      to justice is now a struggle for her life.

      Free Lynne Stewart Now!

      Ralph Poynter and Family

      Ralph Schoenman

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