Ralph Poynter (Lynne Stewart's husband) and Jeff Mackler (West Coast Coordinator for the Defense of Lynne Stewart) appeared with host Samantha Legend on The People Speak radio show (Airdate 6/11/2013). Both Ralph and Jeff shared the story of activist /lawyer Lynne Stewart who had been unjustly imprisoned for her humanitarian works and activism as a lawyer and her ongoing struggle to gain compassionate release as she was dying from cancer in prison.
A promise was made: If Lynne was released - Jeff, Ralph and of course Lynne would come back on the show and sing a song for us! We are overjoyed that this promise will be fulfilled and invite our audience to hear Ms Stewart in her first performance since being released as part of this musical trio.
ABOUT LYNNE STEWART from an article by Alan Maass in the Socialist Worker 1/22/13:
Lynne Stewart has been a fearless lawyer for many decades, defending clients targeted by aggressive prosecutors, especially in the era of escalating state repression that preceded and followed the Bush administration's declaration of the "war on terror" in 2001.
In a clear attempt to exact revenge, the Bush administration targeted Stewart herself. She was accused helping a client, Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman, to communicate with an Islamic organization in Egypt at a time when he was barred from making contact. How did Stewart supposedly do this?
By issuing a press release on behalf of Abdel-Rahmen. Despite the flimsy evidence and obvious political motivations of the prosecution, Stewart was convicted in 2005. She was originally sentenced to 28 months in prison--already an outrageous term for a lawyer who did nothing more than communicate on behalf of her client. But federal prosecutors then demanded a still-longer sentence on the outrageous grounds that Steward was a danger to "national security."
Stewart was ultimately given a 10-year sentence--a potentially life-threatening term given that she was battling breast cancer at the time. The sentence was upheld by an appeals court in June of last year. Stewart's team of lawyers prepared a asking the U.S. Supreme Court to throw out the sentence.
Stewart explained on Democracy Now! in 2009 that her case raises "important constitutional issues--the right to speak to your lawyer privately without the government listening in, the right to be safe from having a search conducted of your lawyer's office. All these things are now swept under the rug and available to the government."
Despite her health problems, Stewart has continued to help fellow prisoners with legal advice while behind bars. And her spirit remains strong. In a message to supporters for the New Year, she said:
I have a strong sense of never allowing any such problem deter me from someday getting released and walking out under my own power to rejoin our
We...face a formidable challenge in getting my case before the Supreme Court. Will they deign to hear us? 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." There is no predicting results, but in prison, HOPE is the only currency.
Lynne Stewart deserves all the support we can give as she continues the struggle for her rights and ours.