After New York lawyer Lynne Stewart was convicted for acts of terrorism and sentenced to 28 months in prison in 2006, her incarceration was postponed in order to complete her medical treatment for cancer. She also remained free to speak out about her trial, the United States justice system and the fact that she “would do it again and could serve the 28 month sentence standing on her head”.
Unfortunately, on a sentence appeal, the Appeal Court directed the trial judge to re-sentence Ms. Stewart and in particular, to take into account perjury at her trial and her overt lack of remorse. She was sentenced yesterday to ten years in prison. She is 70 years old.
How did Stewart go from activist human rights lawyer to prison inmate? Here’s the story:
Not afraid of unpopular clients, Ms. Stewart acted for members of the Weather Underground, the Black Panthers and ex-Mafiosa Sammy, the “Bull” Gravano.
She was retained in the early 90’s to defend blind cleric Shiekh Omar Abdul-Rahman, spiritual leader of the Egyptian organization The Islamic Group. The Shiekh, who master-minded the World Trade Centre explosions, was charged with terrorist acts in relation to the WTC and attempts to blow-up the United Nations, an FBI building and several tunnels and a bridge in New York City. He was convicted and is serving a life sentence plus 65 years.
Between 1997 and 2002, Stewart, her interpreter and her paralegal continued to see the Shiekh in prison and were accused of passing messages from the Shiekh to his radical followers, who under his leadership, continued to plot jihadist attacks around the world.
At the core of the government’s case against her were secret videotapes and telephone recordings of her meetings with her client. In one recording she and the Shiekh were laughing at their clever arrangement to continue the jihadist work even while he was in prison.
Additionally, in breach of her agreement with the authorities that only legal matters would be discussed with her client, she made a public announcement on the Shiek’s behalf which signaled to his followers that they should ignore a cease-fire agreement.
As a hero of the left, prior to her incarceration she was in great demand as a speaker and garnered the support of numerous organizations including the communist Pravda and George Soros’ foundation. Osama bin Laden recorded a video tape wherein he praised Stewart’s actions.
Is Stewart now a political prisoner as her supporters allege or a jihadist who hid behind the power of a law degree and the privileges attached to her status?
Her own words answer this question:
“I don’t believe in anarchist violence but in directed violence.
That would be violence directed at the institutions which
perpetuate capitalism, racism, sexism and at the people who
are the appointed guardians of the institutions and
accompanied with popular support.”
After her arrest in 2002 she told the New York Times that the Pentagon would have been a better terrorist target than the World Trade Towers on 9/11 because people in the Towers “never knew what hit them”.
Lynn Stewart is really no different than any other jihadist. She is morally corrupt and evil and society needs to be protected from people of her ilk.
Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang BA JD