[Marxism] Lynne F. Stewart, Lawyer for Omar Abdel Rahman, Unexpectedly Outlives Him
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Sat Feb 25 10:21:45 MST 2017
Lynne F. Stewart, Lawyer for Omar Abdel Rahman, Unexpectedly Outlives Him
By BENJAMIN WEISER <https://www.nytimes.com/by/benjamin-weiser>FEB. 24, 2017
When Omar Abdel Rahman <http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/a/omar_abdel_rahman/index.html?inline=nyt-per> died last Saturday while serving a life sentence for a 1995 conviction in a plot to blow up New York City landmarks, it came as little surprise that the nearly universal view of him as a dangerous terrorist would not be shared by his former lawyer Lynne F. Stewart <http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/s/lynne_f_stewart/index.html>.
What was something of a surprise was that Ms. Stewart, who then called <https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/19/nyregion/omar-abdel-rahman-memories-1993-world-trade-center-attack.html> Mr. Abdel Rahman “just the latest in a long line of American heroes who were convicted wrongfully,” was around to do so.
Three years after she was granted <https://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/01/nyregion/us-asks-judge-to-free-dying-lawyer.html> a “compassionate release” from federal prison in her own terrorism case after doctors had said that Ms. Stewart, ill with cancer, would not survive beyond 18 months, she has endured, remaining unmellowed, especially about Mr. Abdel Rahman.
“He was a personification of an American hero,” Ms. Stewart, 77, said in an interview on Thursday. “I feel very strongly that he suffered. He suffered unjustly because he was convicted of this bogus crime.”
Ms. Stewart sought an early release from prison while serving a 10-year sentence <http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/29/nyregion/lynne-stewarts-10-year-prison-sentence-is-upheld.html> for smuggling messages from the imprisoned Mr. Abdel Rahman, known as the blind sheikh, to his followers in Egypt.
She had been found to have breast cancer, and in 2012, doctors at the Federal Medical Center, Carswell, in Fort Worth, said that the cancer had spread to her lungs, lymph system and bones, according to court papers filed by her lawyer.
Ms. Stewart said in a 12-page handwritten letter to the judge in 2013: “Isolated, in hospital, as I now am, I have time to contemplate life and death. I do not intend to go ‘gently into that good night,’ as Dylan Thomas wrote. There is much to be done in this world. I do know that I do not want to die here in prison — a strange and loveless place. I want to be where all is familiar — in a word, home.”
The judge, John G. Koeltl of Federal District Court in Manhattan, ultimately granted Ms. Stewart a compassionate release after a request by the government, which said that she qualified for such release because she had a terminal, incurable illness with a life expectancy of less than 18 months, and because of the relatively limited risk, if she were released, of recidivism and danger to the community.
Ms. Stewart was interviewed on Thursday in her living room in Brooklyn, where she was joined by her husband, Ralph Poynter, and later that day on the phone, one day after she had returned home from her latest treatment at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Doctors had told her that she had suffered a “couple of strokes,” she said.
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