We, the NLG-NYC Muslim Defense Project, voice our deep concern about the treatment and health of political prisoner Lynne Stewart, and urge prison authorities to move quickly to provide the cancer treatment she needs. For more than three years, Lynne, who is 73 years old, has been held at the Carswell Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas, thousands of miles away from her family and community in New York City.
As members of the radical legal community, we will not allow the government to silence Lynne and isolate her case from public discourse. While the government has attempted to use her case to instill fear in others who defend the oppressed and advocate for dignity and human rights, we recognize Lynne as among the ranks of freedom fighters who do not stand down in the face of government repression of marginalized groups. She has dared to speak out for them.
Throughout her legal career, Lynne defended those who so many had abandoned: Muslims, people of color, and those individuals the government labeled “terrorists.” Lynne did not shy away from placing her clients’ cases in the larger political context under which they occurred, under the umbrella of the U.S. government’s war on terror used to justify the occupation and complete dismantling of entire countries in the Muslim world, to justify larger police and military defense budgets and funding of the prison industrial complex. Sadly, her own case became an example of government overreach and vindictiveness–from the political motivations compelling her prosecution to judicial coercion of an unduly harsh punishment.
Even while fighting her appeal, she has never stopped devoting her time to helping others; she spends these days supporting and advocating for other women imprisoned with her. She continues to speak out in support of human rights and radical causes from the confines of her own cell.
We demand that Lynne not only receive the immediate treatment she needs, but call on her peers in the progressive and radical community to continue to stand by her. We cannot forget the larger context within which Lynne’s own targeting and incarceration take place, i.e., as a restraint on us to provide zealous advocacy to those who the government has marked as its enemies. 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 and send our solidarity and love in this time of struggle.
Latest updates at lynnestewart.org
To send Lynne a letter, write:
Lynne Stewart #53504-054
Federal Medical Center, Carswell
P.O. Box 27137
Ft. Worth, TX 76127
The Muslim Defense Project (MDP) of the New York City Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG-NYC) was formed to combat the anti-Muslim rhetoric and policies that have created a comprehensive system of illegal surveillance, predatory prosecutions, and the targeting of entire Muslim communities — in New York City and beyond. We stand in solidarity, as members of these communities and their allies, to seek the elimination of laws that enable the discrimination of Muslims. We will arm our communities with the knowledge and information they need to protect themselves. We will put our legal skills to use defending those who have fallen prey to predatory prosecutions. We recognize that community ties through trust and activism have been under attack over the past several years, and we endeavor to safeguard and build those precious relationships. Through organizing and activism, we seek to build a strong front by developing alliances with other communities who have also been the subject of the government’s repression. Together, we will fight this government onslaught on our fundamental rights — as history has taught us that the rights of one community or individual belong to us all.
To learn more about the Muslim Defense Project, please visit www.nlgnyc.org/mdp.