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A Travesty of Justice for Lynne Stewart

To All,

Here is a letter written on behalf of Lynne Stewart. Please write your own and send to: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/ For more information on why the sentencing and re-sentencing of Lynne Stewart is a travesty of justice, read the article below the letter and log on to lynnestewart.org


Dear President Obama,

The Justice Department’s actions against Lynne Stewart are heartless and clearly politically motivated. Asking for a 30 year sentence to Ms. Stewart based on a belief it will make the administration “look” tough on terrorist supporters is simply heinous. If you are a decent human you cannot allow a person such as Ms. Stewart to be sacrificed for your political motives.

Please act from your heart and not from your self-interested political goals and allow the previous sentence to stand. You have no idea how horrible prison is. Even a sentence of 2 years is more than enough to physically or mentally destroy any person. Given the lack of the seriousness of the crime, a 10 year sentence is unconscionable.

Mr. Obama, I really don’t understand where you are coming from and neither does the American public. I am a lifelong democrat and believe in the parties’ historical support for civil rights. Do you and can you act from that place?


Jack Silver

‘People’s lawyer’ receives 10 years in prison

Sara Flounders, New York, Jul 21, 2010

Every struggle against the criminal injustice system in the U.S. today is a struggle to maintain morale and a combative spirit in the face of overwhelming repression, systematic racism, isolation and intimidation.

Activists wave to imprisoned lawyer & activist Lynne Stewart outside of Manhattan’s Metropolitan Correctional Center. Photo: Roberto Mercado

In every trial of a political prisoner the victim becomes the criminal through orchestrated media demonization and prosecutorial lies and distortions. The most important role of a defense committee is to again and again mobilize people to respond with determination and solidarity through long trials and often frustrating years of legal appeals.

This past week “people’s attorney” Lynne Stewart faced the outrage of being returned to court for an even harsher sentence at the demand of reactionary judges on a higher court who had denounced her original sentence of 28 months as too lenient.

The entire case against Stewart is about a wildly fabricated charge of aiding terrorism based on a press release Stewart made 10 years ago for a convicted former client, Sheik Omar Rahman. Stewart, Ramsey Clark and Abdeen Jabara defended the sheik at a trial in 1995.

In April 2002 Attorney General John Ashcroft had federal agents arrest Stewart without warning and charged her with crimes that were not even on the books at the time the press release was issued. Stewart was sentenced four years ago by the same Judge John G. Koeltl to 28 months in prison. Judge Koeltl has now caved in to judicial and media pressure and quadrupled her original sentence to 10 years in federal prison.

Ramsey Clark, WW photo: John Catalinotto
Ramsey Clark WW photo: John Catalinotto

It is the mobilizations of love and solidarity in the streets that will help keep 70-year-old Stewart alive as legal challenges and a new appeal are raised.

On July 8 at Judson Memorial Church several hundred people packed a powerful solidarity rally for Stewart. The event was extremely well organized with tables of food, literature, CDs, speakers, drummers, music and a large screen with videos of Stewart and photos to help mobilize for the week ahead.
On July 14, the night before the resentencing hearing, hundreds rallied at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, next to the federal court building where Stewart was being held. There were two hours of speakers and chants, followed by a march to the front of the jail.

Lynne Stewart, left, greets supporters from behind bars. Photo: Roberto

Mercado Activists and Stewart’s large extended family first took the streets in front of the MCC. At the rally site Stewart could be seen waving with both fists raised behind the bars, double grill and glass of her cell on the second floor. Drums, horns and chants resounded off the walls.

For an emotional hour there was a wild echoing chorus expressing love and solidarity and determination. Every form of energy and sign language that could raise Stewart’s spirits was thrust forward. During the entire time Stewart kept her clenched fists raised.

Hundreds turned out hours before for Stewart’s resentencing on July 15. Even with long lines and security checks the main court room and overflow court rooms to accommodate hundreds more were packed with supporters. The mood was grim but determined as people filed out of the courthouse and pledged to continue the fight.

The determination is enormous to continue the struggle to appeal this outrageous sentence and free Lynne Stewart.

One thought on “A Travesty of Justice for Lynne Stewart

  1. Here is the letter I sent. Note there was no guidance provided for Category and sub-category, so I chose “non-police” and “help with a Federal Agency”:

    I believe the terrible, draconian sentence given by the Justice Department to Lynne Stewart is unfair and wrong. It is both a harsh and an unusual punishment. Lynne Stewart is an admirable, decent, good woman who has improved the lives of hundreds if not thousands of people through her more than 30 years of selfless work on behalf of the poor and the oppressed.

    I urge the white house to pardon Lynne Stewart and to back her legal efforts as a friend of the court as her case is taken to the Supreme Court.

    I think it is an embarrassment to the country to give poor 70 year old cancer survivor Lynne Stewart a ten year sentence, in effect a death sentence.

    Lynne Stewart never should have been convicted in the first place. There should never have been a trial. All that was necessary was to ban her from seeing her client.

    Even in a country such as Iran or Cuba or some other bad country, not even a bad government such as those would give Lynne Stewart, at age 70, ten years in jail for simply calling a Reuters reporter.

    Again, I urge the White House to support Lynne Stewart as her case goes to the Supreme Court, and better yet to pardon Lynne Stewart.

    It is not right and and it is not fair. Her jury was high-jacked by a rogue juror who brow-beat the other jurors. The judge originally gave Lynne Stewart a 28 month sentence. It is absurd for that same judge to re-sentence her to 120 months due to a comment she made which he mis-interpreted.

    The judge said he increased the sentence by a factor of 5 because Lynne Stewart said she could do a 24 month sentence standing on her head. That is not what she said. She said that her clients tell her that they, not her, can do 24 months standing on their head. What kind of country is this, that increases Lynne Stewart’s sentence from 24 months to 10 years because she relates something her clients tell her?

    Please pardon Lynne Stewart and support her legal efforts.

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