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Lynne Stewart

Lynne Stewart at a fund-raiser sponsored by Gray Panthers.

We support the defense of Lynne Stewart, who is being prosecuted under the personal supervision of Attorney General Ashcroft. Lynn Stewart is a criminal defense attorney who has represented many well-known political prisoners. The SF Gray Panthers Civil Liberties Committee has sponsored several events for her defense.


Jury selection has been completed, and the trial of radical lawyer Lynne Stewart has begun in a federal court in New York city. Stewart and her co-defendants, Ahmed Abdel Sattar and Mohammad Yousry, are charged with conspiring to provide material support to the Islamic Group, an Egyptian-based alleged terrorist organization, by passing messages from Stewart's jailed client, Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman by way of a press conference. The indictment also charges her with violating Special Administrative Measures (SAMS) imposed by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, which include a constitutionally questionable gag order on Sheik Rahman. The indictment came two years after the last alleged act, and after 9/11 and the passage of the Patriot Act, and is based on secret surveillance of priveleged attorney-client interviews and wiretapped conversations.

Stewart wrote, in reference to the jury selection ("Notes from the trial"), that "...we were more than pleased...they all seem to be people who can be fair and listen for the defense nuances." She also referred to the opening statements of the government as "two hours of non-stop anti-terrorist harrangue...in which they claimed the incitement to violence but never revealed that absolutely nothing violent ever happened in Egypt following the press release or any other 'communication'."

What is unfolding , as the June newsletter of the Lynne Stewart Defense Committee notes, "...is a political prosecution and trial. By targeting and indicting Lynne Stewart the U.S. Justice Department hopes to make an example of an attorney with a long history of progressive political beliefs...her arrest is meant as a signal to the defense bar to cease and desist zealous representation of persons criminalized by the government."

Michael Tigar, Stewart's Lawyer, has told the court Stewart is being punished "for who she is, not what she actually did." In his opening remarks, he began debunking some of the most outrageous claims of the government, portraying Lynne Stewart as a " courageous, vigorous, responsible, responsive lawyer" whose career is about justice not terror. The first week of the trial also included Yousry's lawyer's presentation of his client as being absolutely innocent, a citizen of the United States for twenty years, a conscientious worker and a ph.d candidate. It was brought out that Ramsey Clark would testify, and that Yousry and Lynne Stewart herself would also be heard from in the defense case. As regards to the journalists who have interviewed Lynne Stewart in the past, and have been issued subpoenas to testify for the prosecution, they have filed motions to quash the subpoenas which have not been ruled on yet. Lynne Stewart's trial is an attempt to stifle dissent, establish police-state legal precedents in the courtroom, and shatter attorney-client privelege. We, as activists, lawyers, legal workers and people who believe in justice must stand with her and come to her assistance.

As Bruce Bentley, National Lawyers Guild, NYC Chapter, Coordinator for RNC Mass Defense, has written: "If the government succeeds in taking away our zealous and treasured people's lawyers like Lynne, who will be there to stand up to the government in court to defend the growing movements of resistance? Supporters are urged to come to New York and attend the trial, spread the word and make badly needed donations to her defense.

Lynne Stewart Defense Committee
An interview with Lynne Stewart on KPFA's "Guns and Butter" program.
"When Representing an Accused Terrorist Can Mean the Lawyer Risks Jail, Too."