The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Defense Attorney Lynne Stewart Wins Prison Release

Jan 6, 2014

A federal judge finally granted 74-year-old attorney Lynne Stewart so-called “compassionate release” from prison after her doctor stated she is likely to live no more than 18 months due to stage IV breast cancer. It’s about time.

Stewart was imprisoned because the government targeted her for a lifetime of legally defending the poor and people opposed to the government. Among those Stewart defended was Black Panther Willie Holder, who hijacked a plane in an attempt to negotiate the release of Angela Davis in 1972. She also defended David Gilbert, a member of the Weather Underground.

The government set her up in 2010, when she represented Omar Abdel-Rahman, known as “the blind Sheikh,” a long-time opponent of the bloody Mubarak regime in Egypt, which the U.S. government supported. Abdel-Rahman was convicted of seditious conspiracy and sentenced to life in prison.

Stewart was charged with violating “Special Administrative Measures,” restrictions aimed at keeping the blind Sheikh in total isolation from his family and the outside world in general, when she issued a short press release on his behalf. In a truly democratic society, it would hardly be something warranting jail time.

Stewart may have made things worse when she made light of the 28-month sentence she was originally issued. After complaints from politically connected people, a higher court ordered the judge in her case to re-sentence her, and he more than quadrupled her sentence to 10 years.

It was effectively a death sentence for someone whose cancer had returned, especially since the prison system denied her a needed surgery for a year-and-a-half.

So now officials of the “injustice” system have found it in their hearts to release her, after more than four years in prison. Compassionate? Not on your life.