Federal Judge Sentences Lynne Stewart to Death
ACTIVISM, 12 Aug 2013
On August 9 , The New York Times headlined “Dying Lawyer’s Request for Release From Prison Is Turned Down,” saying:
“A federal judge in Manhattan declined on Friday to order the release of Lynne F. Stewart, an outspoken former defense lawyer who is dying from cancer in a federal prison in Texas.”
Lynne’s a longtime heroic human rights defender. She’s one of America’s best. She’s one of thousands of wrongfully incarcerated political prisoners.
She languishes unjustly in America’s gulag. It’s the world’s largest. It’s one of the worst. Official US policy spurns justice.
Lynne’s dying. She has Stage Four cancer. It’s worsening. She’s denied effective treatment. She petitioned for compassionate release.
FMC Carswell warden Jody Upton recommended it. She did so based on Lynne’s condition. According to former Attorney General Ramsey Clark, Lynne “meets every legal, rational and humane criterion for” it.
Denial exceeds cruel and unusual punishment. It’s a death sentence. FMC Carswell’s a death camp. Terminally ill political prisoners languish there to die.
Doing so reflects gross injustice. It’s ruthless. It’s premeditated murder. It’s the American way.
Obama wants her dead. Bureau of Prisons (BOP) officials denied her. So did federal Judge John G. Koeltl. On Friday, he sentenced her to death. He did so disgracefully.
He’s part of America’s prison industrial complex. It’s a ruthless police state apparatus. It’s a killing machine. It exposes the nation’s dark side.
Jill Shellow represents Lynne. “While we are disappointed,” she said, “this is hardly the end of this fight.”
“Lynne is going to continue to actively pursue a compassionate release through the BOP, and we expect to be back in court, and hope it will be sooner rather than later.”
BOP declined comment. So did Manhattan’s US attorney’s office. Obama’s Justice Department maintains silence. They’re enforcers. They’re part of America’s police state apparatus.
Activist Ralph Schoenman circulated urgent news on what happened. He called denying Lynne “worthy of Kafka.”
Koeltl’s ruling, he said, “ignored the falsification of the medical record documented in the recommendation of Compassionate Release for Lynne Stewart made months before by the Warden of Carswell Federal Prison.”
He “ignored the Defense Brief. He chose not to address its citation of the falsification of the medical evidence contained in the Denial of Compassionate Release by Charles E. Samuels, Jr. Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons.”
“He did not reference the Defense documentation of the violation of the Separation of Powers and habeas corpus rights fundamental to the US Constitution.”
He “ignored Defense documentation in its Brief of the testimony before Congress of Michael Horowitz, Inspector General of the Federal Bureau of Prisons on the refusal of the Bureau of Prisons to recommend release for prisoners facing catastrophic disease in order to allow medical care that would enable them to survive.”
“He ignored the evidence documented by Human Rights Watch that the Bureau of prisons – had arrogated to itself the authority to refuse Compassionate Release unless a prisoner is on the verge of death – thus releasing them not for medical care that could save their lives, but solely to be placed in a coffin.”
In his book “Race to Incarcerate,” Marc Mauer focuses on America’s obsession with imprisonment, punishment, and commodifying prisoners.
It’s done to fill beds. It targets society’s most vulnerable. It does so against people of color.
It’s against activists supporting human and civil rights, ethnic justice, racial emancipation, and political, economic and social equality across gender and color lines.
Democracy exists in name only. Rule of law principles don’t matter. Justice is a four-letter word. It’s systematically denied.
Thousands of innocent victims face long prison terms. They languish under cruel and inhumane conditions.
Some die in prison. Others endure years of solitary confinement, poor medical care, other forms of abuse, and perfunctory parole hearings rigged to refuse.
Incarceration’s a system of social control. Wrongful imprisonment killed Marilyn Buck. She served 25 years of an 80 year sentence.
She did so for opposing US imperialism and racial injustice. On July 15, 2010, she was released. Three weeks later she was dead.
Months earlier, she was diagnosed with uterine sarcoma. It’s a rare aggressive cancer.
She was denied proper treatment. She was kept imprisoned until it was too late to save her. Political Washington wanted her dead.
She called prisons warehouses to “disappear the unacceptable.” They “deprive their captives of their liberties (and) human agency.”
They “punish.” They “stigmatize prisoners through moralistic denunciations and indictment based on bad genes.”
They consider the wrong beliefs, race, and/or ethnicity “a crime.”
Millions of Americans are vulnerable. They’re targeted. They’re scapegoated. They’re demonized. They’re criminalized unjustly.
They’re not incarcerated “because they are ‘criminal,’ but because they’ve been accused of breaking (a law) designed to exert tighter social control and State repression.”
They’re locked in cages longterm. It’s for being the wrong race, ethnicity or social class. It’s for championing right over wrong. It’s for advocating peace, not war. It’s for defending freedom.
It’s for thinking rule of law principles matter. It’s for believing activism and dissent are the highest forms of patriotism.
It’s for resisting injustice. It’s for defending human and civil rights. It’s for doing the right thing. It’s for doing it morally, ethically, and honorably. It’s for doing it no matter what.
America’s rage to incarcerate reflects a crime against humanity. It shows human life and welfare don’t matter. It proves justice is a four-letter word.
It’s a figure of speech. It’s always been that way. It’s worse than ever now. Gulag justice is official US policy.
Lynne’s one of thousands of victims. She devoted her life to helping others. She deserves that much and more in return. She needs release now to save her. Imprisonment condemns her to death.
Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a BA from Harvard. Two years of US Army service followed, then an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. After working seven years as a marketing research analyst, he joined the Lendman Group family business in 1967. Writing on major world and national issues began in summer 2005. In early 2007, radio hosting followed.
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