The campaign to save the life of Lynne Stewart
29 April 2013
A major milestone has been reached in the struggle for Lynne Stewart’s freedom. Lynne Stewart wrote on April 26 to confirm that the Warden at FMC Carswell has recommended Compassionate Release to the Bureau of Prisons.
“I was called down to see the social worker at around 1 p.m. This is the same woman who told me on at least two occasions that ‘it couldn’t be done. You don’t qualify. Why would you bother??’
“She didn’t realize that I sign all mail ‘Love Struggle’ because I DO Love Struggle. And when anyone says I can’t, it’s just like a red flag (and I mean Red!).
“Next stop is DC and then back to Judge Koetl. So Happy that the Compassionate Release was granted at Carswell and we are on the road!!!
“Who DID It? — The People Yes – and we certainly deserve a VICTORY and this is one for sure!!
“All Love . All STRUGGLE
With this dramatic development, the International Campaign to Save the Life of Lynne Stewart, with close to 13,000 petition signatures and growing by the hour, has crossed a critical threshold.
The Warden at FMC Carswell has responsibility for determining the medical status and eligibility of all applicants for Compassionate Release in his jurisdiction and for notifying the Bureau of Prisons of his determination of the facts and of his recommendation reflecting this.
As Lynne Stewart, made clear, “Compassionate Release has been granted at Carswell and we are on the road.” We direct our attention now to Charles E. Samuels, Jr., the Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
The International Petition to Save the Life of Lynne Stewart declares:
“Under the 1984 Sentencing Act, after a prisoner request, the Bureau of Prisons can file a motion with the Court to reduce sentences “for extraordinary and compelling reasons.” Life threatening illness is foremost among these and Lynne Stewart meets every rational and humane criterion for compassionate release.”
As the letter from the family of Lynne Stewart to the Warden and to the Director of the Bureau of Prisons declared “If Lynne Stewart does not qualify for Compassionate Release, no one does.”
Inspired by the words and spirit of Lynne Stewart, the International Petition Campaign has harnessed the power of people of conscience.
This is the moment to intensify our global mobilization. We must prevail upon the director of the Bureau of Prisons to file the motion for compassionate release with Judge John Koetl, the sentencing judge.
Let us summon all within our within our reach to sign the Petition at www.change.org/petitions/petition-to-free-lynne-stewart-save-her-life-release-her-now-2
We shall not be denied.
The International Petition campaign is proud to announce the the following declarations of support for Lynne Stewart.
Father Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann, noted liberation theologian, Foreign Minister of Nicaragua, 1979-1990, President of UN General Assembly, 2008-2009:
“In today’s world it is increasingly difficult to find individuals with the intellectual and ethical fortitude, compassion and love “to speak truth to power” and give voice to those who have been silenced, shunned or wronged. Lynne Stewart is one such person. She has repeatedly been an instrument to defend in U.S. courts those whose narratives do NOT fit within the prevailing, ‘officially’ sanctioned narratives of our times.
In so doing, Lynne Stewart represents the finest in the tradition of American civil rights defenders. That she should face criminal charges for her actions to defend her client reflects the tragic state of affairs of the U.S. justice system today.
“I cannot help but feel compelled to stand in staunch support and love with a true American heroine.
“I urge others to do so, fearlessly and tenderly, so that Lynne–who has provided solidarity, counsel and support to countless others in need, may feel an outpouring of human solidarity and support in this poignant moment of her own life story.
“Lynne, you are NOT alone. I stand—we stand—together in solidarity and love.
“Lynne, you are in my prayers and actions. Do know that I will channel a request through the U.S. Embassy here in Managua asking for your immediate release and will write to others in the United States and elsewhere to press for your immediate release.
Fr. Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann”
Kathleen Chalfant, known to us all for her roles in The Guardian, Law and Order and her best actress Tony nomination for Angels in America, recorded this impassioned message urging support for Lynne Stewart.
The quality of mercy is not strain’d,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
‘T is mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown;
Portia “The Merchant of Venice”, Act 4 scene 1
This is the beginning of one of Lynne Stewart’s favorite Shakespeare speeches. How remarkable that it should so closely fit her current situation. She has given a lifetime of service to others. Mercy is a quality which she seems to have in unlimited amounts – Mercy for the most put-upon, the most despised, the most in need. Her mercy, compassion, and indeed her service as an attorney was always freely and cheerfully given to anyone she represented. She brought hope to those in despair. She brought love to the despised. .
Today, Lynne Stewart is suffering a terrible disease, alone, fifteen hundred miles from her husband, children, grandchildren and friends. She is undergoing the painful, debilitating effects of chemotherapy without the comforting presence of her loved ones.
It seems only just that this kind and wonderful woman should, at this critical time, be shown the same measure of mercy that she has shown to others.
Kathleen Chalfant, actor
New York City