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Imprisoned human rights attorney Lynne Stewart denied cancer treatment

January 29, 2013

by Stephen Lendman

Numerous previous articles have discussed Lynne Stewart’s case, character and dedication to rule of law principles. She’s an internationally recognized human rights lawyer.

Lynne Stewart, Ralph Poynter leave courthouse after her terrorism conviction 102006 by Chang W. Lee, NYT
Lynne Stewart and her husband Ralph Poynter leave the courthouse following her conviction on terrorism charges Oct. 20, 2006. – Photo: Chang W. Lee, New York Times
She tirelessly worked for justice. She devoted her life and work to upholding principles too important to reject. She knew the risks and took them. She did so because it matters.

For 30 years, she defended America’s poor, underprivileged, unwanted and forgotten. Without advocates like her, they never have a chance for due process and judicial fairness.

She was targeted for representing clients prosecutors want convicted. One case made her especially vulnerable.

At former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark’s request, she joined Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman’s defense team. In 1995, he was wrongfully convicted of seditious conspiracy, solicitation of murder, solicitation of an attack on American military installations, conspiracy to commit murder and conspiracy to bomb in connection with the 1993 World Trade Center attack.

He was bogusly accused. He was innocent of all charges. It didn’t matter. He never had a chance. Prosecutorial injustice framed him. It’s standard Justice Department practice.

She tirelessly worked for justice. She devoted her life and work to upholding principles too important to reject. She knew the risks and took them. She did so because it matters.

Defending Rahman got Lynne spuriously charged with:

  • conspiring to defraud the United States;
  • conspiring to provide and conceal material support to terrorist activity;
  • providing and concealing material support to terrorist activity; and
  • two counts of making false statements.

Prosecutors claimed she violated U.S. Bureau of Prisons Special Administrative Measures (SAMs). A gag order on Rahman was included that prohibited discussing topics the Justice Department (DOJ) rules outside “legal representation.” It also inhibited legal defenses.

Ramsey Clark issued press releases like Lynne. She alone was targeted. At issue was silencing a powerful legal advocate. Tactics included disbarring and imprisoning her unjustly.

Doing so warned other lawyers not to defend clients Washington wants convicted.

Her trial mocked justice. It was orchestrated to convict. It reflected the worst of McCarthy-like tactics. Inflammatory terrorist images were displayed in court.

Lynne Stewart graphic 1211 by Rashid Johnson, web
Tribute to the People’s Lawyer Lynne Stewart by fellow prisoner Rashid Johnson
Jurors were manipulated and intimidated. Lynne was called a traitor with radical political views. Heated rhetoric substituted for truth and full disclosure.

On Feb. 10, 2005, she was convicted on all counts. She was automatically disbarred.

On Oct. 17, 2006, she was sentenced to 28 months in prison. At the time, she remained free on bond pending appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

In November 2009, she was ordered to surrender forthwith and report to prison. She appealed and lost. Second Circuit justices upheld her conviction. They claimed 28 months was too lenient. They remanded her case back to District Court Judge John Koeltl.

Pressure got him to increase Lynne’s sentence to 10 years. She hopes Supreme Court justices will afford her what lower courts denied.

On Dec. 30, she sent a New Year’s message. She addressed her legion of supporters. She approached 2013 with “fear and trepidation.”

She maintains “indefatigable hope.” She continues struggling against “those dread tentacles of corporatism (that) try to strangle us.”

It’s no easy task fighting back. Lynne’s imprisoned for trying. She discussed her “personal challenges.”

She’s a breast cancer survivor. It reemerged. It’s spreading. It’s treatable. More on that below.

She remains focused. She’s determined not to allow “any such problem deter (her) from someday getting released” and being free.

She reflected on her “strong will.” She calls it the “focus that you all infuse me with!”

Ralph Poynter leads march, rally for Lynne Stewart on her 71st bday outside her NYC prison 100810 by John Catalinotto, WW
Ralph Poynter leads a march and rally for Lynne on Oct. 8, 2010, her 71st birthday, outside the prison in lower Manhattan where she was then being held. – Photo: John Catalinotto, Workers World
She commented on her formidable challenge in getting her “case before the Supreme Court. Will they deign to hear us,” she asked? Will we advance the sunlight or only increase the shadows on our constitutional rights?”

“We can only strive to present our issues in the best possible way and ‘fight like hell’” for justice. There’s “no predicting results, but in prison, HOPE is the only currency.”

On Oct. 8, Lynne added another year. She’s 73. She’s “counting down (her) 74th year,” she said. Her husband and lifelong human rights partner, Ralph Poynter, is 79.

Often her final comment is vintage Lynne. She urges everyone to join the struggle for justice. “Organize – Agitate, Agitate, Agitate!” “Love Struggle!”

Write her and others in America’s gulag. She can be reached as follows: Lynne Stewart, 53504-054, Federal Medical Center, Carswell, P.O. Box 27137, Ft. Worth, TX 76127.

Lynne’s health compounds her problems. On Jan. 23, Press TV headlined “Jailed U.S. lawyer of blind Egyptian cleric denied cancer treatment,” saying it reemerged and “spread to her lungs and upper back.”

“She “require(s) immediate expert treatment.” She requested transfer to a New York hospital. She’s been successfully treated there before. She was denied.

She’s confined to prison-style treatment. It’s mediocre at best. Authorities want her silenced. They don’t care if she lives or dies.

Incarceration harms human health. Prison conditions aren’t compatible with healthy living. Serious illnesses aren’t adequately diagnosed or treated. Some are entirely ignored.

Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) discussed “The Health and Health Care of U.S. Prisoners.” Few inmates with “active medical problems” are monitored. Mental health problems are “ubiquitous.” Treatment is deplorable.

“Almost a million inmates report having one or more chronic medical problems, and their access to medical care appears to be poor.”

Lynne Stewart, youngest daughter Zena on Lynne's bday Carswell Prison 100811
Lynne and Ralph’s youngest daughter, Zena, visits her mother at Carswell Prison on Lynne’s birthday, Oct. 8, 2011.
“Providing inmates with health care is politically unpopular. Former Surgeon General Richard Carmona said Bush administration officials blocked release of his report titled, ‘Call to Action on Corrections in Community Health.’” They did so fearing it “would increase government spending on inmates.” PNHP stressed that “constitutional, public health and human rights imperatives of improving health care in prisons and jails are clear.”

In January 2009, PNHP headlined “U.S. prisoners sicker than believed and have poor access to care.”

An American Journal of Public Health article discussed a first-ever nationwide study. It said about 40 percent of America’s prison population – over 800,000 inmates – have chronic medical conditions. They include diabetes, heart and kidney problems, asthma and cancer. Researchers found “sick prisoners have poor access to care.” Many in need aren’t treated. Others get deplorable care.

Compared with comparably aged Americans, the incidence of inmates’ illness is much higher. Treatment is sub-standard. “Inmates with medical problems like diabetes, which requires drug treatment (daily), often had their vital medications stopped after their incarceration.”

Lead study author, Dr. Andrew Wilper said: “A substantial percentage of inmates have serious medical needs. Yet many of them don’t get even minimal medical care. These prisoners are denied their constitutionally guaranteed right to care.”

Incarceration harms human health. Prison conditions aren’t compatible with healthy living. Serious illnesses aren’t adequately diagnosed or treated. Some are entirely ignored.

Lynne is affected like others. Her struggle for good health accompanies her appeal to be set free. Her treatment reflects police state justice.

It symbolizes what’s wrong with America. It spurns rule of law principles. It imprisons its best and brightest. It’s contemptuous of fundamental civil and human rights. Wealth, power, privilege and dominance alone matter.

Ordinary people are largely denied. Prison inmates lose all rights. Constitutionally guaranteed ones don’t matter. Ill inmates needing vital care get sub-standard treatment or none.

Change more than ever is needed. Great struggles are won in small steps. Supporting right over wrong matters. Mass public outrage is needed. Activism gets results. There’s no other way.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.” Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10 a.m. Central Time on Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening. This story first appeared on DailyCensored.com.

How you can help

Civil rights attorney and political prisoner Lynne Stewart needs help. She fought breast cancer two years ago, apparently successfully, but now the cancer is spreading. Her condition is treatable. But authorities have denied her request for transfer from her Texas prison to the New York City hospital where she received expert medical attention before.

Lynne Stewart, Ralph Poynter visit 010112
Ralph visits Lynne in prison on New Year’s Day, 2012.
Please flood the mail with cards and letters to Lynne. This will boost her spirits, and it will also serve another purpose. The authorities track and read all her mail, and they take notice when they see that the world is watching.

Stewart, a longtime anti-war and social-justice activist and respected criminal defense attorney, was unjustly convicted in 2005 of providing “support for terrorism” by delivering a handwritten press release to Reuters from Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, a client that the court had appointed her to represent. An articulate critic of the U.S. justice system, Stewart is known as the “People’s Lawyer” for representing controversial clients, political dissidents and the poor.

Send messages and cards to: Lynne Stewart, 53504-054, Federal Medical Center, Carswell, P.O. Box 27137, Ft. Worth, TX 76127.

Please flood the mail with cards and letters to Lynne. This will boost her spirits, and it will also serve another purpose. The authorities track and read all her mail, and they take notice when they see that the world is watching.

Learn more about her case at Justice for Lynne Stewart

On the legal front, Lynne’s team from the Center for Constitutional Rights and the National Lawyers Guild are fighting the original charges and asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review her case.

Please take a moment to send Lynne a card. Our actions can pressure the prison system to authorize the healthcare she needs and keep her alive while we continue to fight for her freedom.

Thanks to the Freedom Socialist Party for this information. Learn more at www.socialism.com.

 

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4 thoughts on “Imprisoned human rights attorney Lynne Stewart denied cancer treatment

  1. Vincent Piano

    Lynn Stewart should have been disbarred and sent to prison years ago. She advocates the killing of police officers when radicals such as the UFF. robbed banks and armored cars. She hates this country, however hides under it's constitution toprotevt her cop killing clients. There is no such thing as a political prisoner in the U.S. this is just another line of bullshit crap from these leftist bastards.

    Reply
  2. Dale

    Really so I take it many people have never been framed by the intelligence community? Lets see, Dhoruba Bin Wahad AND Geronimo Pratt just to name two, both Black Panthers and both spent over twenty years in prison…oh and by the way, both were compensated financially by the government..there is no such thing as Political Prisoners (Lol), you sound INSANE!!

    Reply

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