[Ppnews] Vigil at Bureau of Prisons Demands Release for Lynne Stewart

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Tue Jun 18 10:39:34 EDT 2013

/*For Immediate Release:*/

/*Press Contact:  Mya Shone 707.694.5695*/


*WHERE*: Federal Bureau of Prisons Headquarters, 320 1st St NW, 
Washington, DC
(corner 1st Street and Indiana Avenue, NW)
*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.

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