Jul 19, 2010
A judge more than quadrupled the prison sentence imposed on civil liberties attorney Lynne Stewart. This after an appeals court ruled her earlier sentence was “too light” and ordered the re-sentencing.
Stewart had originally dared to defend a client U.S. government officials had targeted, Sheikh Omar Rahman. They secretly recorded meetings Stewart held with her client.
It’s the kind of thing one might expect from a military dictatorship or a fascist state, but not exactly the mark of a society that supposedly cherishes its defense of democratic rights and the rights of individuals not to be hounded by government.
Finally Stewart released a short statement her client made for the press. In a democratic society, no one would blink an eye at what she did, but it was a violation of this government’s insanely bureaucratic rules – enough for them to charge Stewart and send her to jail.
And if that’s not enough, when she expressed defiance of the dictatorial court proceedings after the first sentencing, they gave Stewart, who is 70 years old and suffering from breast cancer, the longer ten-year sentence.
Stewart is a lawyer who devoted her professional life to defending people the government has tried to railroad. And that’s enough, apparently, for the government to give her what amounts to a death sentence.