Workers Vanguard No. 1041

7 March 2014


Urgent Medical Appeal for Lynne Stewart

Seventy-four years old and suffering from Stage IV breast cancer, radical lawyer Lynne Stewart may have only months to live. The government is dedicated to making that time as painful as possible. After being denied compassionate medical release for nearly a year, Stewart was finally let out of prison on December 31 by a U.S. district judge who cited her “terminal medical condition and very limited life expectancy.” Stewart, whose cancer has metastasized to her back, lung, bones and lymph nodes, discovered after her release that she had been stripped of Medicare coverage while in prison. She will not be enrolled again until July. Medicaid will not cover her because Stewart and her husband’s combined Social Security benefits exceed the monthly income limit. She must now pay the sky-high costs of treatment and medication herself—or go without!

Stewart should never have spent a day in prison. In 2005, she was convicted of giving material support to terrorism for her vigorous defense of an Egyptian Islamic fundamentalist cleric who had been imprisoned for an alleged plot to blow up New York City landmarks in the early 1990s. Stewart’s purported “material support” was to communicate her client’s views to Reuters news service. Her Arabic translator Mohamed Yousry and paralegal Ahmed Abdel Sattar were also convicted. These watershed convictions gave the capitalist government a green light to prosecute lawyers as co-conspirators of their clients—a frontal attack on the Sixth Amendment right to counsel. In 2010, at the instigation of the Obama administration, a federal appeals court instructed the judge who had originally sentenced Stewart to reexamine her sentence. Appeasing his superiors, the judge jacked up the original 28-month sentence to ten years.

Lynne Stewart dedicated her adult life to keeping Black Panthers, radical leftists and others who are reviled by the capitalist state out of the clutches of its prison system. Tens of thousands worldwide supported Stewart’s fight for a medical release. She must not face this new attack alone. The Lynne Stewart Defense Committee has issued an appeal for funds for Stewart’s medical needs. The Partisan Defense Committee, a class-struggle defense organization associated with the Spartacist League, has contributed funds. We urge our readers to contribute now! Make checks payable to “Lynne Stewart Organization” and mail to: Lynne Stewart Organization, 1070 Dean Street, Brooklyn, NY 11216.