View the original letter here (PDF): http://lynnestewart.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/LYNNE-STEWART-tribute-Jihad-Abdulmumit.pdf
Dear Comrade Sister Lynne,
I heard the news about your passing; but now I’m not quite sure. After a wave of sadness, I called Ralph. Although his voice was somber, his words were strong and determined. “We have to double our efforts to get all of our sisters and brothers out of prison!” I listened compassionately. He was giving me orders! Marching orders! Lynne’s orders! I sat for a moment processing our conversation. Daggone you Lynne Stewart – frontline warrior, wife warrior, mother warrior, attorney warrior, friend warrior, warrior warrior; in the courtroom sitting when you were expected to stand and standing when they wanted you to sit; advocating and objecting to the judge’s injustices. From prison you wrote me, Jihad, you need to organize the Muslims to get Imam Jamil, Maumin, Jalil, Aafia Siddiqui, and all the other Muslim Political Prisoners out. Form a Muslim Caucus! Get them involved! We gotta do something more than what we are doing! After a Ralph-led full frontal assault, they let you out of prison with the high expectation of 18 months to live. You cheated death then and you’re cheating it now. You’re not dead; you’re very much alive. You are living through each and every one of us who continues to struggle against any and all forms of injustice, state violence, racism, oppression, exploitation, and inhumanity. We hear your laughter and pointed remarks; your courageous analysis, your courageous actions, your courageous presence speaking truth to a tyrant, any tyrant. You were not afraid to call an ace an ace, a chump a chump, a friend a friend and an enemy an enemy. I pray I have that spark when I reach 77. (I’m still not sure whether you and Ralph were serious when we were at the ABC Conference in Colorado a few years ago and you said you wanted to get up early in the morning and work out and exercise with me). Thank you for representing us; for taking our cases; for demanding the freedom of all Political Prisoners. Thank you for being there! You and that brotherman of yours. You are such a profound inspiration. Keep on giving them orders and we’ll talk again soon!
Link to audio of Jaan reading “Farewell thoughts to my friend Lynne Stewart”, from Prison Radio: http://www.prisonradio.org/media/audio/jaan-laaman/farewell-thoughts-my-friend-lynne-stewart-235-jaan-laaman
“Farewell thoughts to my friend Lynne Stewart” from Jaan Laaman, political prisoner
With a sunny sky outside, and a “Day Without Woman Strikes” and other very positive and powerful events taking place all across the United States and around the world, I am sitting quietly and sadly reflecting on the life of my friend Lynne, who died last night.
There is so much that can, and probably will be said about this dynamic and wonderful woman. For decade Lynne Stewart was a, if not the, preeminent human rights, civil rights, peoples’ lawyer, boldly fighting for justice, equality, and freedom in many of the most important and widely reported cases in the United States.
Lynne truly was fearless and could not be intimidated by prosecutors, judges or FBI and other gun-toting goons. She believed in, and fought for Constitutional rights and equal justice. She always fought for her clients.
Lynne was not only brave and determined, but she was a brilliant attorney. She also was very hard working, doing the necessary research and innovative paperwork that often forced the courts to accept her arguments.
Lynne touched so many people and lives in large and dynamic ways, in personal, caring and nurturing ways. As a lawyer, Lynne was a very significant part of the legal team for all of us Ohio-7 people in our many trials. Beyond just her work and skill as an attorney, Lynne was also there for our children and families. As a small boy, my son Ricky always stayed at Lynne’s home when he came to visit me and his mother while we were being held in MCC New York. Lynne was our family friend, as well as a sister and a comrade in the struggle.
So many people will miss you, Lynne, your guidance and wisdom, your concern and care. the love you had for the people and the freedom struggle is only matched by the love so many people, freedom fighters included, have and will continue, to have for you.
Rest easy my sister. We will shed our tears for you then firm up our hearts and spirits and continue in the revolutionary freedom and justice struggle that you contributed so much and uniquely to.
“Did you say I’ve got a lot to learn
Can strings push?
We wake with watch hands
nickel-slick enemies know it’s
“Finding Paths, Forging Links In
Flipping tassel, flinging mortarboard skyward—
Entering from Tahrir Square,
Signaling us to become
Signaling us to become
Lynne Stewart Scholars come matriculate:
Raymond Nat Turner © 2017 All Rights Reserved
RIP Lynne Stewart, People’s Lawyer & Fmr. Political Prisoner; Watch Her Interviews & Release in 2014 (Democracy Now!)March 10th, 2017
View all the interviews as well as Lynne’s release in 2014: https://www.democracynow.org/2017/3/8/rip_lynne_stewart_peoples_lawyer_fmr
From Telesur (Venezuelan English-language TV):
Stewart, originally sentenced to 28 months in prison, was resentenced on July 10, 2010, to 10 years in prison, but continued to fight a government frame-up.
After suffering a major stroke on March 1, Lynne Stewart died Tuesday evening at home, after being granted a compassionate release from prison three years ago due to fourth-stage breast cancer.
Stewart devoted her law practice to defending the poor, underprivileged, unwanted and forgotten, according to her partner Ralph Poynter.
The human rights attorney was arrested on April 9, 2002, on charges of helping pass messages from her client, Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman, an Egyptian cleric convicted of masterminding the 1993 World Trade Center attack in New York City, to his followers in al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya, an organization designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the U.S.
Stewart was subsequently convicted for conspiracy and providing material support to terrorists, while her felony conviction led to her automatic disbarment.
Her sentence was characterized by many as an attempt by the U.S. government to silence dissent, curtail vigorous defense by lawyers, instill fear in those who seek to help Arabs and Muslims being prosecuted for free speech and defend the rights of all oppressed people.
Attorney Leonard Weinglass, said of her incarceration, “The Lynne Stewart case is the case that’s going to mark this era as the era of the war on terrorists, which includes the war on lawyers who defend those who are accused of terrorism. To put her behind bars when no one was injured, no one was harmed, when those who produced the torture memos, those who produced the war are going free and even prospering is really the irony of our time.”
Stewart fought false accusations and a government frame-up. Originally sentenced to 28 months in prison, she was resentenced on July 10, 2010 — in an unprecedented move after her bail was suddenly revoked — to 10 years in prison for showing an alleged lack of remorse after her initial sentencing.
In a statement after her release on Dec. 31, 2013, Poynter said, “The enduring global movement for social justice has persevered — ever inspired by Lynne Stewart’s steadfast refusal to bend the knee, submit to coercion or official duplicity.”
Photo from: Susan M Reverby (thank you!)
From WBAI News – Four-minute audio clip (with long quotes from Ralph after Lynne’s passing): http://www.wbai.org/articles.php?article=3373
Just a few of the many tributes that have been pouring in on Facebook, email, and other venues:
I have known a hero in my lifetime, I have laughed with and cried with and shared the righteous rage with a hero. I got to hug a hero, stand at her wedding and find shelter in her home. See her babies grow up and eat pie with her. She casts no shadows, only light now. A woman who gave herself to struggle for decades. A heart, a strong and loving heart that beat so hard for so many, death cannot stop it. Her spirit goes to the reward for loving warriors, there is a significant part of her city, and the nation and beyond that, who feels this loss tonight. Oh captain, my captain.
THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU HAVE DONE FOR THE PEOPLE
We salute Lynne Stewart, longtime friend of CCR, who was the very definition of a people’s lawyer and who passed away yesterday. We send our love and condolences to her partner Ralph Poynter, who was always by Lynne’s side everywhere she went, and to her entire family. We were honored to have Lynne as a guest speaker at several recent CCR events, including the Law for Black Lives convening in 2015. Lynne exuded love and fiercely advocated for justice, and CCR aspires to that example which she set for all of us.
Check out this clip of Lynne’s visit, along with her partner Ralph Poynter, to the closing session of CCR’s Ella Baker summer intern program in 2014. Introduction by CCR’s Ian Head: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCiFDmdmFjs
Tribute from Puerto Rican former political prisoner Dylcia Pagan
Lynne Stewart – My Comrade, Sister Warrior Woman
During the 20 years of my Revolutionary Sabbatical, there wasn’t a birthday of mine that Lynne forgot. To me it was always my personal New Year’s greeting from her.
I have shared many memories in my life with her. She was always there with unconditional love, support from her revolutionary heart and soul. She is truly a woman warrior because what took precedence in her life was struggle for human rights, Political Prisoners in all of the movements of true struggle. There was Lynne.
Her smile and eyes were always filled with determination striving for a victorious result. I am very fortunate to have had her in my life. The distance of time and place didn’t matter – I knew she was there.
Lynne, Hermana de Lucha!
Tribute to Lynne by Jeff Mackler, former West Coast Director of the Lynne Stewart Defense Committee and Director of the Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal (San Fran.)
A few minutes ago my dear friend and comrade, Ralph Poynter, called to say that his lifelong companion, Lynne Stewart, passed away. She was 77, of Irish origin, and a born fighter who unswervingly devoted herself to humanity’s cause.
Just a few weeks earlier Lynne pledged to meet me in NY in a couple of months, over dinner to be sure, when we would dance once again to demonstrate that her life still had some time to go… and for joy.
A few years earlier, when prospects looked bleak to win her freedom based on “compassionate release” Lynne insisted that she would prevail and that she would celebrate with us in San Francisco to the tunes of a brass band. Sure enough, a brass band did appear at Lynne’s welcome home San Francisco rally, and she and Ralph, surrounded by her loving friends, danced in the streets at 15th and Valencia. It was a victory well worth the effort, allowing Lynne a couple of more years to fight on against all that is evil in this barbarous capitalist world, and to smile at every inch we collectively gained as we fought back.
Lynne was always surrounded by family and loved ones, with children from her first marriage, and Ralph’s too, as well kids together, and grandkids – all filled with admiration for Grandma Lynne – all the recipient of Lynne’s warmth, dedication, mindfulness and love.
Lynne was fond of saying, including to the New York Times reporter who interviewed her at her home a few weeks before her death, that she had no intention of leaving this earth quietly. Quoting Dillon Thomas she told The Times, whose reporter, followed the next day with a contemptuous hate piece recounting his corporate master’s ire for everything wonderful in Lynne life and struggles, that she had no intention of “going gently into that good night.”
That was Lynne’s credo, her detractors notwithstanding. Always the poet’s words in mind, Lynne insisted,
“Do not go gentle into that good night,
Funds are urgently needed to cover final family expenses. Give generously comrades and friends. We are honoring Lynne’s gift to us all and to all who rage against injustice everywhere.