1. Action Required
4. Sample Letters
1. Action Required
IHRC requests all campaigners to write letters of support to human rights lawyer Lynne Stewart who is currently suffering from terminal cancer. Also write to the Prison Governor and urge him to grant release to Stewart on compassionate grounds.
Lynne Stewart, Sheikh Omar’s attorney of many years, was unfairly convicted and sentenced for passing messages from her client to his followers in Egypt. She is currently suffering from terminal cancer, languishing in a prison far away from her loved ones. IHRC requests all campaigners to urge the Prison Governor to grant her compassionate release so that she can seek well-needed medical attention and be reunited with her family in this testing time of her life. Also write a message of support to Stewart and give her warm words of encouragement. Please find sample letters below.
Lynne Stewart chose for herself an immensely challenging life-goal that sets her apart from many great women of today. As a human rights attorney she decided to advocate for the rights of the underprivileged and the outcast knowing full well that she may become very unpopular amongst the majority of her peers.
The case of Sheikh Omar Abdul Rahman, also known as the Blind Sheikh, was nothing different to Stewart’s usual client profiles when she took it up in 1994. He was a man wrongly accused of seditious conspiracy against the state. Stewart continued to defend him with courage even after he was convicted on false charges. She was subject to ‘special administrative measures’ (SAMs) during her meetings with the Sheikh and hence was restricted from conveying messages or correspondences of her meetings to third parties. However, in late 2003 she was indicted on evading the SAMs and was charged for ‘obstruction of justice and conspiracy to provide material support to terrorism.’ Stewart insisted that she was simply doing her job when she read out a statement made by the Sheikh to Reuters in April 2000.
On 10 February 2005 she was convicted of lying to the government and aiding ‘terrorists’ by conveying messages from the Sheikh to his followers in Egypt. Her supporters believed that she only intended to create awareness and gain public support for her client. Her conviction was an attack on the First Amendment right of free speech, free press and petition and on the right to effective assistance of counsel. The ‘evidence’ in her case was gathered by wholesale invasion of private conversations, private attorney-client meetings and private faxes, letters and e-mails.
On 15 July 2010, Stewart was re-sentenced to 10 years in prison for alleged perjury at her trial. Her entire trial made a mockery of the system of due process and the age old principle of attorney-client confidentiality.
On 25 June 2013 Stewart’s request for compassionate release was denied by the Federal Bureau of Prisons Director. She is currently serving her sentence at the Federal Medical Centre in Carswell, Texas. She suffers from breast cancer which is feared to be terminal. Her physician called it the worst case he had ever seen. However, she continues to appear in high spirits and encourages her supporters to carry on campaigning for her immediate release.
Please write to the Prison Governor and urge him to release Stewart on compassionate grounds. Please also write to Stewart herself and give her words of encouragement.
For up to date information on her trial and campaign please visit http://lynnestewart.org/
4. Sample Letters
A sample letter is given below for your convenience. Please note that model letters can be sent directly or adjusted as necessary to include further details. If you receive a reply to the letter you send, we request you to send a copy of the letter you sent and the reply you received to IHRC. This is very important as it helps IHRC to monitor the situation with regards to our campaigns and to improve upon the current model letters. It is preferable that letters be sent via post, or otherwise by fax and/or email.
a. Letter to Prison Governor (UK campaigners can write using the address supplied below)
Charles E. Samuels, JR.
Director, Federal Bureau of Prisons
320 First Street, NW
Washington, DC 20534
Re: Lynne Stewart, 53504-054, Compassionate Release
I strongly urge you, as a fellow human being, to grant release to Ms Lynne Stewart, 53504-054, on compassionate grounds. She is over 70 years of age and suffers from terminal cancer. Her recent prognosis revealed that she may only have 18 months to live. I hope you understand the extent of her pain and suffering. She requires urgent medical attention in a supportive environment with her family and loved ones.
I strongly urge you to show compassion to Ms Stewart on humanitarian grounds and hear the cry of thousands of her supporters desperate for her release.
I urgently await your positive response.
b. Letter to Lynne Stewart
Lynne Stewart #53504-054
Federal Medical Center, Carswell
PO Box 27137
Ft. Worth, TX 76127
I am amazed by your strength of character at this testing time in your life. You are a great inspiration for me. Your life gives me the message to continue fighting for the cause I believe in and never give up.
You chose to work and campaign for the oppressed and downtrodden, regardless of the immense negative pressures from society. You were convicted and defamed for doing your job and defending your client to the best of your ability. But you stood your ground and did not let the adverse pressures affect your morale and your lofty goals. Your courage inspires me to face my fears and live my dream goals irrespective of the deterrents in my life.
I sincerely pray to God for your miraculous recovery and good health and immediate release from prison.
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“And what reason have you that you should not fight in the way of Allah and of the weak among the men and the women and the children, (of) those who say: Our Lord! Cause us to go forth from this town, whose people are oppressors, and give us from Thee a guardian and give us from Thee a helper.”
Holy Qur’an: Chapter 4, Verse 75
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