Lynne Stewart – Last Chance for Compassionate Release 46

In the same week that the Obama administration decided there would be no prosecutions of Bush acolytes for torture and extraordinary rendition, they also agreed to go ahead with a move to increase the jail sentence of civil rights lawyer Lynne Stewart. In July 2010 they succeeded in getting her sentence increased from 28 months to ten years.

Lynne Stewart’s “crime” was to pass a message from one of her clients, imprisoned Egyptian cleric Omar Abdel Rahman, to his followers who were struggling against the dictatorial Mubarak regime. Mubarak was one of the United States’ favourite dictators. Despite the fact that Mubarak killed many thousands more people than Omar Abdel Rahman’s supporters ever did, it was Mubarak that the United States designated a good guy, and Rahman a bad guy. At Lynne Stewart’s trial, the jury were repeatedly shown videos and photographs of 9/11 and Osama Bin Laden, despite the fact that neither Stewart or Rahman had any link to either.

Stewart believed that restrictions on her communication as a lawyer with her client, and the recording by government of her meetings with her client, were unconstitutional. She read out the message from her client at a public press conference in New York. This was it:

“I [Omar Abdel-Rahmn] am not withdrawing my support of the cease-fire, I am merely questioning it and I am urging you, who are on the ground there to discuss it and to include everyone in your discussions as we always have done.”

At the time Obama decided to imprison her for much longer, Stewart was already known to have cancer. Due to delayed and inadequate treatment in prison, this has now spread throughout her body. it is now in her shoulder, lungs and lymph nodes. She has just been recommended for compassionate release on these grounds by the prison Governor. This however is a Federal decision. Obama’s pursuit of whistleblowers and others who question the “war on terror” has been vicious and unremitting. The hate campaign in the USA towards Stewart in the USA is startling to British eyes.

Desmond Tutu and Noam Chomsky head the petition to free Lynne Stewart. Please add your names.

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46 thoughts on “Lynne Stewart – Last Chance for Compassionate Release

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  • nevermind

    Signed, well at least I hope so, some Java script shenanigans made me do it twice.

    What a farce, she should exchange places with Obama, he should get a taste of what its like in a US prison as someone the system dislike’s for speaking out.

  • April Showers

    Thanks for bringing this long standing injustice to out attention. Poor soul. As a woman of similar age, I was trying to imagine what it would be like to be in her situation, ill and imprisoned, and failing. It is beyond all words.

    I have signed the petition.

    Here is Chris Hedges with Julian Assange, who is yet another candidate for compassionate release.

    The Death of Truth
    by Chris Hedges
    May 6th 2013

    This interview is a joint project of Truthdig and The Nation magazine.

    LONDON—A tiny tip of the vast subterranean network of governmental and intelligence agencies from around the world dedicated to destroying WikiLeaks and arresting its founder, Julian Assange, appears outside the red-brick building on Hans Crescent Street that houses the Ecuadorean Embassy. Assange, the world’s best-known political refugee, has been in the embassy since he was offered sanctuary there last June. British police in black Kevlar vests are perched night and day on the steps leading up to the building, and others wait in the lobby directly in front of the embassy door. An officer stands on the corner of a side street facing the iconic department store Harrods, half a block away on Brompton Road. Another officer peers out the window of a neighboring building a few feet from Assange’s bedroom at the back of the embassy. Police sit round-the-clock in a communications van topped with an array of antennas that presumably captures all electronic forms of communication from Assange’s ground-floor suite.


  • Herbie

    Seems this Michelle Malkin, whose article you pointed to, is considered extreme, embarrassing fruitcake material even by ultra right neocons at Fox:

    She’s had a remarkably profitable career though, whilst Lynne Stewart lies dying in prison.

    There’s a kind of cannibalism going on in America, but it’s eating itself.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella)

    @ Craig : do you know on what basis her sentence was so drastically increased? Was there a new trial? If not (and I suppose there wasn’t), was there anything in the original sentence which permitted such an increase by simple executive fiat? Or was the Attorney General (I suppose it was he) able to appeal againjst the original sentence?

  • craig Post author

    I believe the latter, and an additional charge of perjury. Of course, an extremely high percentage of those who plead not guilty and are found guilty, could be given an additional charge of perjury, but the justice system doesn’t usually do that.

  • A Node

    Michelle Malkin – what a vicious way to earn a living.

    Signed, total now = 12567

    I added:
    “This is a decent woman doing what she believed is right. She is being persecuted to stop other people from doing what they believe is right.
    Today her, tomorrow the rest of us.”

  • Dick the Prick

    Signed but she’s dead. Once in the lymph nodes it’s time to make arrangements. Meet the new guy, same as the old guy.

  • NR

    @ craig 7 May, 2013 – 10:40 am

    “One key fact stood out: a young woman, Alisha Owens, had recently been sentenced to a jail term of between 9 and 27 years for naming her alleged abuser in court.”

    From a story about an unfinished British TV documentary on the Franklin Bank scandal in Omaha, Nebraska and a high-level paedophile transporting children from the movie-famous Boys Town to supply elites of all political persuasions in D.C., way back in the 80s.

    Also this on the dilemma, for the US, of usings drones.

  • April Showers

    Can we forgive La Thatcher for all the assistance she gave Pinochet to escape justice? NO.

    Torture survivor leads Chileans’ battle for justice over Pinochet abuses

    Inter-American court for human rights to give judgment on landmark compensation claim by 79-year-old Allende ally

    Owen Bowcott, legal affairs correspondent, Monday 6 May 2013 18.24 BST

    Leopoldo Garcia Lucero was seized in September 1973 and badly beaten. He settled in the UK after being expelled from Chile in 1975. Photograph: Sean Smith for the Guardian

    Leopoldo García Lucero carries a disfiguring zigzag scar above his left eye where a police officer lacerated his face with the stock of a machine gun. The injury was inflicted nearly 40 years ago in the blood-stained basement of a Santiago police station during the military coup in Chile that toppled President Salvador Allende.

    Next month, the 79-year-old torture survivor, most of whose teeth are missing from repeated beatings and interrogations, will discover whether his quest for justice, pursued for half his lifetime, has been rewarded.

    García’s claim has become the lead case for those seeking compensation from Chile and a full investigation of past crimes. It could set international standards about what constitutes just reparation for those tortured and exiled from their homeland.


  • doug scorgie

    7 May, 2013 – 10:40 am

    “Of course, an extremely high percentage of those who plead not guilty and are found guilty, could be given an additional charge of perjury, but the justice system doesn’t usually do that.”


    I believe this is the same in the UK but the Crown Prosecution Service doesn’t usually bring charges of perjury in such cases; I don’t know if they ever have.

    It could be argued that police officers should be charged with perjury if the defendant was found not guilty of a charge based on police evidence submitted in court.

    I have signed the petition.

  • John Goss


    There are too many people in prison who are good people. And too many walking free who ought to be in prison. Governor Don Seigelman (the opponent of Karl Rove’s criminal activities) is another example, together with Shaker Aamer, cleared for release but can’t be released because of all the torture the good old Yanks have inflicted on him, Babar Ahmed, beaten by UK police, Talha Ahsan, the poet suffering from Asperger syndrome. The last two Ahmed and Ahsan have been extradited to the US by Theresa May to Supermax prisons where, according to John Pilger 98% plead guilty in a plea bargain because of the austerity (torture) endured in Supermax prisons.

  • Jives

    Another important post Craig,thank you.

    Slightly O/T but this confirms that the CIA had much “input” into Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty and the portrayal of CIA torture-as many suspected.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella)

    @ April Showers/Mary :

    “Can we forgive La Thatcher for all the assistance she gave Pinochet to escape justice?”


    Speaking from memory, I believe that Lady Thatcher offered Pinochet some material assistance – was it accomodation, perhaps? Anyway, material assistance while he was stuck in the UK.

    But I was unaware that she gave him any assistance in the sense I believe she means, ie intervention in the judicial process.

    Is April Showers/Mary able to supply references to any evidence for this assertion?

  • Jon Pelfrey

    Murray, bizarre to me that you want to aid and abet an aider and abettor of the person who ordered the Luxor massacre, but I suppose you must have your (silly anti-American) reasons.

    It’s pretty clear to any knowing person that she was (i) violating the judge’s orders and (ii) telling the boys to get back to their work.

    Pretty pathetic, even for you.

  • April Showers

    It is good to see that nearly 1,000 signatures were added to the petition yesterday.

  • April Showers

    I wonder if Lynne can see any blossom from her prison cell? Probably not.

    I thought of Dennis Potter the author and playwright today.
    If you can say you loved someone you have never met or knew, I loved Dennis Potter and his books and plays, some of which were televised as dramas and musicals.

    I was looking at all the wonderful blossom we have had so suddenly and all at once and thought of his quote here… the blossomest of blossom. These were his last public words. He had pancreatic cancer as well as psoriasis and hands that were deformed I suppose from arthritis. And although he was swigging from a bottle of morphine throughout this interview, he seemed so full of life.

    He was brought up in that magical place, the Forest of Dean.

    It was at this time of year in 1994 that Dennis Potter, then dying of cancer, gave a celebrated interview with Melvyn Bragg published under the title Seeing the Blossom. He spoke of how the imminence of death gave his experience of the world a heightened intensity. “At this season, the blossom is out in full now … and instead of saying ‘Oh that’s nice blossom’ … last week looking at it through the window when I’m writing, I see it is the whitest, frothiest, blossomest blossom that there ever could be, and I can see it. The nowness of everything is absolutely wondrous, and if people could see that, you know. There’s no way of telling you; you have to experience it, but the glory of it, if you like, the comfort of it, the reassurance. Not that I’m interested in reassuring people – bugger that. The fact is, if you see the present tense, boy do you see it! And boy can you celebrate it.” It is impossible not to notice that, this week, the blossom is out again.

    The actual interview which is full of interesting comment especially about Britain immediately post war.

    He called his cancer Rupert after Murdoch whom he saw as the greatest polluter of our press. How right he was all those years ago.

  • crab

    This is one of the news items which is so twisted and morbid, fewer pay it attention. A demonstration of medevial-inquistion-like ruthlessness… A lawyer incarcerated for basic services to an official enemy – has cancer, which is allowed to go metastatic, painful and most likely fatal.


    Stephen Hawkin Boycotts Israel – Cambridge University spinners have attempted to deny and fudge the statement:

  • crab

    Stephen Hawking – sorry, lots of wrong spellings of the mans name about at the mo.

  • Lube for you

    “At the time Obama decided to imprison her for much longer”, really Craig? Obama?


    “This was in violation of a Special Administrative Measure (SAMs) that Lynne had agreed to with the U.S. Government. She wasn’t supposed to be a medium for communication between her client and the outside world. She should have challenged the constitutionality of the SAMs, she now realizes, and not just have violated them.”

    The idiot who started the campaign and imprisonment of Lynne, John Ashcroft (the idiot couldn’t even get re-elected in his home state against a dead man for his US Senate seat!)

    It goes on to say:

    “Judge John Walker, George W. Bush’s first cousin, sits on that court. His family made their fortune selling munitions during WWI. He wrote that the 28 months was “shockingly low.” Judge Koeltl was given his orders. The seemingly kindly boyish-looking jurist about whom it was said that he walks to work and looks after an elderly mother—not exactly a sadistic old lady killer—then reversed himself and on the same evidence nearly quadruped the sentence, putting a seventy-year-old grandmother on chemotherapy away for ten years and two years’ probation after that for good measure. This is much more than meanness. It is ideology.”

    I’m tired of the America is damned, Bush/ Obama what’s the difference they messed up everything as they’re all imperialists hiding behind democracy….. Nobody seems to care about circumstances, US Federal Law, etc. Is 10 years, or even 28 months harsh? YES. Did Obama go to a US Federal Court (independent of the Executive in all rulings) and sentence her? Could he grant clemency? YES, however, most presidents only do it their last days in office due to the political nature. Obama, while now a lame duck, is dealing with a very polarized American Congress, elected by a very divided country. I’m sure he’d still like to get some of his agenda’s put to a vote.

    Really, I don’t comment on the UK when it comes to the EU and such. I don’t know the systems, laws, players, etc. enough to make a comment, let alone it’s not my business. These broad statements made here sometimes about the US just assume the President can do or change anything at will is ridiculous, let alone all US politicians are puppets for Imperialistic expansion. I’m sure Obama wakes up every morning, looks into the mirror with a cowboy hat and says ‘Manifest Destiny!!’.

  • crab

    LFY, If your President has no responsibility for this, and there is nothing he can do about things like this, then unfair criticism of such a restrained president (of the worlds primary militaristic superpower) is the least of our problems, isnt it?

  • Lube for you

    Crab –

    There is something the President can do, use Executive Clemency. He won’t do it now, as initiatives will become even harder to achieve in our Red v Blue society. It’s like Getmo, there is a small legal loop the President could try to use to close it, but it’s a long shot and the right will crucify him. I don’t want another neocon President, let alone another ‘contract with america’ congress (yeah it’s going there now).

    ‘of the worlds primary militaristic superpower’ Really, what about Russia? Also like many here I don’t want another American soldier to spill blood in these useless conflicts. I want the countries on your side of the pond to put up a huge amount of military force in say Syria, and your media to stop talking about the red line in the sand. There are far too many domestic issues here to that need funding to be pissing it away in foreign countries for very few whom will profit.

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