Below is a message from a political prisoner. For the 'crime' of issuing a press release, US political prisoner Lynne Stewart, was eventually tossed in prison. The 'crime' happened on Attorney General Janet Reno's watch. Reno has her detractors who think she was far too tough as Attorney General. She also has her supporters who see her as a moderate. No one saw her as 'soft.' Reno had her Justice Department review what happened. There was no talk of a trial because there was no crime. No law was broken. The Justice Department imposes guidelines -- not written by Congress, so not laws -- on attorneys. Lynne was made to review the guidelines and told not to break it again. That was her 'punishment' under Janet Reno. Bully Boy Bush comes into office and the already decided incident becomes a way for Attorney General John Ashcroft to try to build a name for himself. He goes on David Letterman's show to announce, after 9-11, that they're prosecuting Lynne for terrorism.
Eventually tossed in prison? Even Bully Boy Bush allowed Lynne to
remain out on appeal. It's only when Barack Obama becomes president
that Lynne gets tossed in prison. It's only under Barack that the US
Justice Depart disputes the judge's sentence and demands a harsher one
(under the original sentence Lynne would be out now). Lynne's cancer
She needs to be home with her family. Her time is limited and it needs
to be spent with her loved ones. Lynne's a threat to no one -- not
today, not ten years ago. She's a 73-year-old grandmother who has
dedicated her life to being there for people who would otherwise have no
defenders. Even now in prison, she shows compassion towards those who
have had none for her. Barack Obama needs to order her immediate
release. If he fails to do so, then it should be a permanent stain on
It is certainly sobering to be celebrating the start of my 74 year
mired down in this prison. It is even more so when there is my life
line that must be considered. Nonetheless, I remain my ebullient self
and face my fight and my future with optimism. Part of the reason for
this is the wonderful mail I receive daily from people all over the U.S.
and the world. From Tasmania to Tel Aviv (!?) people write and tell me
of the role I play and have played in their lives. It is overwhelming
Today, I have asked you all to rally once again on my behalf.
(Little did we know they would close down the federal government last
week. A conspiracy to keep me here? smile). By coming out and making
another statement on my behalf, I think you are taking a stand for
everyone behind bars. They can lock us down but they cannot lock us away
from the people, who are now coming to have a different sense of the
futility and cruelty of the prison system, and who will take action if
called upon. I am happy to be the poster girl, oops, woman for this. I
know it will never be a some time thing for me and that when I am in the
world again (and I WILL BE IN THE WORLD AGAIN !) this struggle is one
that I must continue. I hope we all give a heartfelt wish for health
and release for Herman Wallace, a valiant warrior, our brother comrade,
who is dying in Angola, after 40 years of solitary.
[Herman Wallace died a free man shortly after his release.]
Hoping that it is a glorious day wherever you are hearing this--my
mom always remarked that the Sunday I was born was perfect weather. I
guess I am waxing nostalgic but blow out the candles and have a bite of
the birthday cake and know that I am indebted to all of you and to our
movement for the fabulous and courageous support you have shown me over
these years. We go on to victory for one elder woman (me) but also to
express our outrage at this heartless system.
Prisoner # 53504-054
Visit the Justice for Lynne Stewart website: www.lynnestewart.org
for birthday messages from Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Fr. Miguel d'Escoto
Brockmann, Ed Asner, Dick Gregory, Medea Benjamin and Code Pink,
Richard Falk, Chris Hedges, Zachary Sklar, Ralph Schoenman and many more
people around the world.