Lynne Stewart: Compassionate Release Recommended By Prison Warden
Editor's Note: Lynne Irene Stewart is 73 years old. She earned her reputation by representing poor, and often unpopular defendants. The government charged her with helping to pass messages from her client Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman to his followers in Egypt. Abdel-Rahman had been convicted of planning terrorism attacks. Stewart was convicted in 2005 and sentenced to 28 months. In 2010 she was resentenced to 10 years for alleged perjury at her trial.
Jeff Mackler's Op-Ed: I received a call from Lynne Stewart's husband, Ralph Poynter, that the warden at FMC Carswell prison in Fort Worth Texas has recommended immediate compassionate release for government frame-up victim and renown attorney for the damned, Lynne Stewart.
Stewart was sentenced to ten years in prison on charges of conspiracy to aid and abet terrorism because she issued a press release on behalf of her client the "blind" sheik, Omar Abdel Rahman. The Carswell warden has received over 11,000 petitions on Stewart's behalf to date. He has recommended to the Justice Department that Lynne be released to the Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, the world class hospital where Lynne first underwent surgery for breast cancer some three years ago.
Today that cancer has metastasized to both lungs and her back. She has been diagnosed by Forth Worth hospital doctors as having Stage 4 lung cancer and is receiving chemotherapy in a nearby, but inadequate Forth Worth hospital. Lynne's white blood count fell to almost zero, forcing doctors to send her to an isolation unit to prevent Lynne's succumbing to bacterial infestations that her body's immune system is incapable of defending against.
Lynne case will now pass through a series of hurdles – from the Justice Department and the original sentencing Judge John Koeltl to perhaps President Obama himself. The international campaign to win compassionate release must now shift to the national government, including the Obama administration. But the first victory has been achieved due to the mass of protest letters to the warden and innumerable acts of solidarity from well know figures across the globe.