September 18, 2006

Lynne Stewart: help needed at this critical time

by Freedom Socialist Party
On October 16, radical defense attorney Lynne Stewart will find out whether she will spend the rest of her life in prison for the “crime” of up-holding the constitutional rights of a client, the 80-year-old blind sheik, Omar Abdel Rahman. The government is urging the judge to put her away for the maximum sentence of 30 years and labels her a "career criminal," presumably for her history of taking on politically unpopular cases.

The government states what we have known all along, that their aim is not only to punish Stewart, but also to "serve as a deterrent” to other movement lawyers.

Stewart, her defense committee, and over 800 people who wrote supporting letters are demanding that she receive no prison time.

The charges against Stewart were tied to her efforts to keep prison guards from hearing her privileged conversations with the sheik and her alleged disregard for jailhouse rules that forbade her client from communicating with the outside world. Stewart's attorney Michael Tigar defines the case as "an attack on the First Amendment right of free speech, free press and petition" and on "the right to effective assistance of counsel."

On September 25, Stewart's lawyers will argue one last motion to dismiss the guilty verdict because the government spied on her strategy sessions with her own attorneys during her trial (highly likely given recent admissions of spying by the National Security Agency).

Our movements need lawyers like Lynne, and today she needs our support. The Freedom Socialist Party forwards a letter from her defense committee and urges you to help publicize this fight, donate to the Lynne Stewart Defense Committee, and attend upcoming rallies and court hearings.


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