The New York City Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild celebrates the victory of our long battle to free fellow member and radical defense attorney Lynne Stewart. This morning, the government filed papers requesting what the Guild has long been fighting for, the compassionate release of our sister and comrade Lynne Stewart. Lynne, now 74, is dying of cancer, and has been given a prognosis of less than 18 months to live. Late today, Judge Koeltl granted the government’s request and Lynne’s release is imminent.
We commend the government for requesting her release and hope that it will make similar requests on behalf of the many federal prisoners that qualify for compassionate release under its own guidelines.
Lynne Stewart has been held at the Carswell Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas, since her 2005 outrageous conviction for “material support for terrorism”. That charge was based upon an interview Lynne had with a Reuters reporter that expressed the political views of her incarcerated client, Dr. Omar Abdel Rahman.
As members of the radical legal community, the Guild fought for our sister in struggle, pushing against the government’s attempt to silence Lynne and isolate her case from public discourse. While the government attempted to use her case to instill fear in others who defend the oppressed and advocate for dignity and human rights, Lynne stood her ground, just as she stood her ground defending those the rest of the world had long abandoned: Muslims, people of color, and those the government labeled “terrorists.” Lynne did not shy away from placing her client’s cases in the larger political context under which they occurred, whether it be the so-called “war on terror” that has been used internationally to justify wars and indefinite detention, or domestically to justify larger police budgets and funding of the prison industrial complex.
While we applaud Lynne’s imminent release, we cannot forget others that still languish in our prisons, from Leonard Peltier and Oscar Lopez Rivera, to Mumia Abu Jamal and Jeremy Hammond. We call for their release and the release of all of our political prisoners. For her courage and strength to defend and fight for others at the expense of her own liberty, we are forever indebted to our freedom fighter, Lynne Stewart, we welcome our sister home with open arms and celebrate this long fought victory.
Listen to Bob Boyle’s interview about today’s developments with Democracy Now! with producer Renée Feltz: http://www.democracynow.org/blog/2013/12/31/breaking_fed_govt_asks_judge_to
Read the Government’s Motion for Lynne Stewart’s Compassionate Release: http://www.scribd.com/doc/194875625/Lynne-Stewart-Motion