Dick Gregory joins the vigil at the Bureau of Prisons, June 18.
Ralph Poynter and others protest in support of Lynne in front of the White House, June 18.
HISTORIC FIRST VIGIL AT THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS TO DEMAND COMPASSIONATE RELEASE FOR RENOWNED ATTORNEY LYNNE STEWARTJune 18th, 2013
For Immediate Release:
HISTORIC FIRST VIGIL AT THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS TO DEMAND COMPASSIONATE RELEASE FOR RENOWNED ATTORNEY LYNNE STEWART
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, June 18, 2013, at Noon
Dick Gregory and Louis Wolf join imprisoned attorney Lynne Stewart’s husband Ralph Poynter and supporters for a historic vigil at the Federal Bureau of Prisons Headquarters in Washington, DC. Seven weeks have elapsed since Warden Jody Upton of FMC Carswell approved Compassionate Release for 73-year-old Lynne Stewart based upon medical findings of Stage 4 cancer that had spread to Stewart’s scapula, lymph nodes and lungs.
The Warden’s recommendation and documentation have been fully vetted at the Federal Bureau of Prisons in Washington, DC. Filing the motion for Compassionate Release with Judge John Koetl, the sentencing judge, awaits solely the ratifying signature of Director Charles E. Samuels, Jr.
“Every minute’s delay compromises Lynne Stewart’s life and her access to the comprehensive treatment plan prepared for her at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York,” Poynter declared, adding that “Her weakened condition and the ominous drop in her white blood cell count required the prison to place Lynne in isolation, as she faces the risk of generalized infection.”
Over twenty thousand people of conscience in the United States and internationally — including former Attorney General Ramsey Clark, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Father Miguel D’Escoto Brockmann, Pete Seeger, Alice Walker, Ed Asner, Cornell West, Daniel Ellsberg, Daniel Berrigan, Richard Falk and Bianca Jagger — have been mobilized by the prospect that Lynne Stewart will perish in prison, or so shortly after release that she would be on the verge of death, denied the comfort and joy of being with those closest to her: her husband Ralph Poynter, many children, grandchildren, a great grandchild and lifelong friends. They have sent email messages, individual letters and made telephone calls to the FMC Warden and the Bureau of Prisons Director in support of Lynne Stewart’s application for Compassionate Release.
Dick Gregory, whose concern for Lynne Stewart led him to fast since April 4, the anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., declared:
“I cannot stand by as this legendary lawyer is forced to walk with 10 pounds of shackles on her wrists and ankles, with connecting chains, and is shackled wrist and ankle to the bed whenever she receives medical treatment. I am determined to refuse all solid food until Lynne Stewart is freed and receives medical treatment in the care of her family and with physicians of her choice without which she will die.”
“Justice delayed is justice denied,” explains Lynne Stewart’s husband Ralph Poynter. “Lynne dies a little more each day.” Poynter has come to Washington, DC from New York City to organize vigils in support of Compassionate Release for Lynne Stewart at the White House and the Bureau of Prisons. “I am prepared to stay,” Poynter remarked, “until Director Samuels puts pen to paper and the Compassionate Release application moves forward.”
Who is Lynne Stewart:
As a criminal defense lawyer for over 30 years, Lynne Stewart defended the poor, the disadvantaged and those targeted by the police and the State. Such has been her reputation that judges assigned her routinely to act for defendants whom no attorney was willing to represent. One of these was the blind Egyptian cleric Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, who Stewart represented with co-counsels former Attorney General Ramsey Clark and Abdeen Jabara.
In 2002, Lynne Stewart was targeted by then-President George Bush and Attorney General John Ashcroft for providing a vigorous defense of her client. She was charged with conspiracy to provide material support to a terrorist activity after she exercised both her and her client’s first amendment rights by presenting a press release to a Reuters journalist.
In 2006, while the Department of Justice demanded a 30-year sentence, Judge John Koetl, handed down a 28-month sentence noting: “By providing a criminal defense to the poor, the disadvantaged and unpopular over three decades, it is no exaggeration to say that Ms. Stewart performed a public service not only to her clients but to the nation.”
That sentence, however, was not to stand as the Second Circuit Appellate Court, withdrew Lynne Stewart’s bail — even though her case is still before the courts — and remanded the case back to Judge Koetl with the harsh demand that he revisit his sentence and issue a severely enhanced one. On July 15, 2010, Judge Koeltl increased Stewart’s sentence from 28 months to 10 years imprisonment. This has become a virtual death sentence for Lynne Stewart as breast cancer that had been in remission prior to her imprisonment metastasized.
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.
FROM RALPH POYNTER:
Hope you will join me in Washington, D.C. Monday, June 17 in front of the White House & the Bureau of Prisons to demand compassionate release for Lynne!
Interview with Ralph Poynter, husband of jailed people’s lawyer Lynn Stewart
June 11, 2013
Read more articles in In-Justice System
Lynne Stewart, a heroic and long-time progressive lawyer, is serving a ten-year prison sentence in Fort Worth, Texas for ‘material support of terrorism,’ after serving as defense attorney for Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman. On June 9 Fight Back! spoke with her husband, Ralph Poynter, about her case. Poynter is a Black community leader and retired New York City teacher.
Fight Back!: At the Left Forum, you organized a panel on political prisoners. How does Lynne’s story relate to the general problem of political repression today?
Ralph Poynter: Lynne’s story is the same as all other political prisoners. Those who want to work toward a more decent society – no matter what way they work on it, by telling the truth, or acting on the truth – have become the automatic enemies of a destructive, corrupt state, and they act in that manner.
So Lynne is a political prisoner who defended those who were not supposed to get a defense. That is, the poor, the people of color and those involved in acts that did not harm anyone else, but the prohibition acts of certain drugs – and they left out alcohol and cigarettes, which are responsible for more deaths than all the others put together. And so Lynne defended these people, and she is paying the price.
LEFT FORUM 2013 June 7-9 Pace University
Targeted killings of Americans on American soil: the story of Lynne Stewart, political prisoners& all progressive struggles in America.
SESSION 3- ROOM E 316 3:40 – 5: 20pm
SATURDAY, JUNE 8, 2013
The clock is ticking. Lynne Stewart & all political prisoners are being targeted for killing on American soil and we must put an end to all overreaching govt prosecutions NOW. Once again, a theme of the LEFT FORUM is the root of the reason why political prisoners exist. Political prisoners are a result of movement struggles to confront the problems of economic & ecological institutions in a capitalist society. Without understanding these roots, it is difficult, if not impossible for movements to unify. “Without struggle there is no progress” i.e. no transformation. The objective of this panel discussion will be to develop a vehicle to accomplish this.
Ralph Poynter –PANEL CHAIR
Ricardo Jimenez- INDEPENDISTA released by Clinton
Women in Black We Will Not Be Silent “took it to the streets” in Washington D.C. for Lynne!
Thanks to We Will Not Be Silent for the amazing support for Lynne and incredible photos! Please click here to visit their website to see more photos and support their work.
We’re at over 16,000 signers!
Lynne Stewart sends her appreciation to petition signatories:
The acknowledgement of the life-political, and solutions brought about by group unity and support, is important to all of us. Equally, so is the courage to sign on to a demand for a person whom the Government has branded with the “T” word — Terrorist. Understanding that the attack on me is a subterfuge for an attack on all lawyers who advocate without fear of Government displeasure, with intellectual honesty guided by their knowledge and their client’s desire for his or her case, I hope our effort can be a crack in the American bastion. Thank you. Lynne
03/20/13 Federal Medical Center, Carswell