Dear Friends and Supporters:
One month ago I made a request for compassionate release which was honored by the warden at Carswell Federal Medical Center. Today the papers are still on a desk in Washington, D.C. even though the terminal cancer that I have contracted requires expeditious action.
Although I requested immediate action by the Bureau of Prisons, I find it necessary to again request immediate action from you, my friends, comrades and supporters to call the three numbers listed below on Thursday, May 30 and request action on my behalf.
This could result in my being able to access medical treatment at Sloan Kettering so that I can face the rest of my life with dignity surrounded by those I love and who love me.
Please do this.
Lynne Stewart FMS CARSWELL-53504-054 & Ralph Poynter
CALL THURSDAY MAY 30th:
Attorney General Eric Holder - 1 202 514 2001
White House President Obama – 1 202 456 1414
B.O.P. – Director Charles Samuels – 1 202.307.3250
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
Lynne speaks with Noelle Hanrahan of PrisonRadio (pre-incarceration).
Health Bulletin from Lynne May 2013
I wanted everyone to be aware of the latest state of the metastasis of my cancer, as revealed by the most recent PET scan. While the lymph nodes and scapula have shown great improvement in size and density following chemo, the cancer in my lungs has not appreciably changed. It is still Stage 4. Since I am now finished with the four chemo treatments that are considered safe, there will need to be a new course of treatment.
As you all know, I am determined to fight fight fight and one day walk out of Prison—soon. Right now, I am finding myself very weary, needing frequent naps. Worse, I am affected by the Chemo brain which takes a toll on my memory and my ability to task and multi task. As most of you would agree, nothing can be as cruel as that which affects mental ability. Nonetheless, I am trying — I have lost appetite (hence the pounds shed –some earlier and not due to cancer but to Jail) and, of course, my hair. Now that the chemo has ended, I hope that my energy level will pick up and I will be able to resume my writing and correspondence.
Meanwhile, it is more important than ever that we keep up the pressure on the Bureau of Prisons and that they do not snatch victory and turn it into defeat. We are waiting for an inspection by the Probation Department in New York, of my sons’s home where I intend to be cared for in Brooklyn. Then the motion by the Washington BOP to Judge Koeltl and his decision. None of this will happen unless we keep up the pressure. Together we all have accomplished much (See comment on “More Releases of Ailing Prisoners” NYT 5/2/13) But we have miles to go before we sleep and I must say when I return to my bed after a slight exertion, I am mighty happy to sigh and fall in !! Bring me home !!
IMPACT OF NUMBERS –Diverse and Impassioned – From Lynne
After experiencing a great happiness as I learned that our request for my compassionate release had been approved had been recommended, I truly felt a resounding depth of joy when I read in the New York Times that the Bureau of Prisons’ Inspector General has recommended “More Releases of Ailing Prisoners…” NYT May 2,2013. Of course, my gratitude to the many people who signed on the petition and wrote is unbounded BUT as a lifelong advocate, if my case can budge the bureaucracy to unfreeze the safety valve for the dangerously ill who are confined in these prisons without hope of release, that is a much greater victory to me and all of us.
Carswell is the only womens’ prison hospital in the Federal System and is replete with tragedy. While not going into detail, let me just say that there now seems to be a crack in the wall because of the reaction of all of you to the call to aid me in the hour of need. That answer is reverberating and may well serve not only me but countless others who are ill and not so fortunate as I. This is what I want as my Legacy — to make it better for others who may not be able to rally as I was able to.
Lynne Stewart. May 4, 2013
STATEMENT FROM LYNNE STEWART & RALPH POYNTER RE: HER COMPASSIONATE RELEASE
A worldwide Embrace to all of the thousands of People who helped Me ! As my hero said, we are motivated by great feelings of love and compassion and I am fortunate to be the beneficiary, this time around.
To savor this victory, you all should know that the Carswell Prison authorities kept telling me ” It can’t be done”. You don’t qualify. Why bother? Wait till you are closer to death! To all of them I replied that I have been fighting battles like this all my life and I would never quit. Then I had this white blood cell setback, making me super-vulnerable and was quarantined for a week. I was relieved on Friday to learn that indeed “the children had shouted” and the walls ” Did come a-tumblin’ down “ I must say that I was in a state of bliss. Not Just to Win but to accomplish it in the time honored method , … we will organize the People and you dare not ignore us !!
I owe an enormous debt to so many. This is the one we had to win where the medical decision was made that compassionate release was warranted. That cannot be trifled with BUT… we who have been out here struggling from the fifties onward know that the Government is masterful at Co-optation at snatching victory and making it defeat. Please do not think that my struggle is WON. We have this fabulous win but we still have the DC National Bureau of Prisons (if there ever was a time to hold Obama’s feet to the fire, this is it) and then their forwarding of the case to the Judge in New York for a final decision (Yes, the same one that increased my original sentence from 28 months to 10 years !) So please, please, please do not let us rest on our laurels. Until my feet are planted like the Tree that grows in Brooklyn, and I am among my family, friends, and comrades and plunged back into the struggle once more, we must continue. Fight On!!
4/16/13; 8:55 am
This was sent to me by Elizabeth Sarafty, Malone, New York a comrade in a weekly vigil there for Out of Iraq and a strong supporter ever since my arrest. Her husband was an activist priest.
If I should pass the Tomb of Jonah
- Carl Sandberg
Letter from Lynne responding to Desmond Tutu’s message of support:
My dear honorable Desmond Tutu:
I hardly know how to address you, for while we have never met face to face we are bonded as only those who fight for the rights and justice of humanity can be. As my husband and I are activists of many years and struggles, we can claim this lovely unity with you harking back to Nelson Mandela at Robbin Island, the original ANC and before. While I know you are still engaged in helping South Africa reach the highest level of the expectations of freedom, I am most pleased and amazed that you have taken the time to support my efforts against the US prison system.
I have now been in jail as a political prisoner since 2009, but only recently been diagnosed with fatal cancer. The “mechanism” in the US law that allows “compassionate release” is so infrequently utilized that the New York Times did an editorial criticizing the system. Anytime the key to the jailhouse is placed in the hands of uncaring bureaucrats, freedom is at stake.
Having been informed that their “rule” is that one must have death in the room–a prognosis of a year or less, to be considered, once again forces me to don my armor and do battle—not just for me but for all the millions of prisoners who do not receive the consideration that they deserve. It is a fight to demand that each person is treated with individual care and attention. It is with great joy that I see you joining me and this renews my hope and belief that the worldwide network of good caring people exists and can be made manifest.
This is a cry from deep in my soul on behalf of my sisters–abused, forgotten, made marginal. We are always aware of our place on the rungs of the ladder of oppression based on race and class and sex.
Since this needs be brief I want to first talk about sisters Indian–Asian and Native American. It is the most difficult concept to conceive of the evil predatory communities these women on different sides of the world live in. Rape is VIOLENCE not sex. It has been routine for men to absolutely do as they will without any fear of retribution legally. There have been no courts to Prosecute, to PUNISH. My first rejoinder is always to urge self-defense–that will always get a woman to Court. But she may be the victim again. Right now, the Congress has passed a “law” that we hope will protect Native Indian women here. But there have been many “Laws”. There is greater hope in India where there has been a righteous female uprising that cannot, will not be ignored.
Briefly I just want to mention –women who are not in the cruel world but suffer behind bars –cages, if you will. Some of us are political –here because the Government has criminalized our actions or framed us –I call out to you to Remember and Cherish Marie Mason, a “green warrior”, Afra Siddique ” a heroine in her own Pakistan for her brave resistance”, and also Me–Still fighting, Still Struggling. Still loving you all.
3/4/13; 9 am
Well, getting old ain’t for sissies nor is Chemo. I had my Day One on Feb 25, did amazingly well the next day and then hit the wall on Wednesday. Soooo tired. Sooo without energy, Soooo unlike my usual busy self. Anyway, we all may have to count this March (and thereafter) for me as the months that weren’t !!! I am fortunate in that I have only some of the “messier” side effects but I can say that from Wednesday (26) to today (3/4) I have definitely been missing in action — sleeping extraordinary amounts of time and staying in my bed at other times (with or without the chow line). My roommates and friends have been extraordinarily kind, helpful, bossy, sweet and will make sure I come through this. The huge amount of mail I get is astounding to my fellow prisoners (“church, relatives, ?? ” I try to downplay it (some poor souls NEVER) get a letter) but my usual answer is that the source is 73 years of trying to do good works for people. When someone then said “And now you’re here?! I said that I have always been “here” and the government didn’t like it.) I feel worst about the fact that I have run short of energy to help the women who already have spoken with me but they all do understand.
So, if you write and don’t get an answer don’t be surprised. As I have said– I read everything and cherish the caring and kindness–with people such as we, how can we not prevail over the cruel over-power that tries to control us all? It is, to my librarian mind, so reminiscent of the traditional folk/fairy tale where the cleverness and goodness of the fight back always prevails over evil.
Still waiting on Supreme Court (Brief is on Website) and laying plans for a campaign of compassionate (?) release. Please stay tuned.