“I Do Not Want to Die in Prison”: Cancer-Stricken Lawyer Lynne Stewart Seeks Compassionate Release


Via Democracy Now!

Lawyers for imprisoned attorney Lynne Stewart head to federal court today to seek her release from prison. Now 73 years old, Stewart is dying from cancer in a Texas prison. Last month, Stewart’s treating physician in prison estimated her life expectancy is approximately 18 months. This comes after the Federal Bureau of Prisons denied Stewart’s request for early release — a denial her lawyers are appealing and hope to address today in a hearing before her original sentencing judge, Judge John Koeltl. In 2010, Stewart was sentenced to 10 years in prison for passing messages from her client, Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, to his followers in Egypt. In a letter to Judge Koeltl, Stewart wrote: “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. … I have no grandiose plans — just good food, conversation, music. That is what I look forward to. And of course, my beloved husband Ralph — my hero and help, my heart, through all the last 50 years. I need him and his strength and love now to be close to me as I get ready for the nearing moments of transition and then rest. If you indeed represent the merciful hand of the law, as against, in this case, a heartless bureaucracy, do not punish me further. Grant me release and allow me to die in dignity.” We speak to her husband Ralph Poynter, her daughter Zenobia Brown, and her attorney Jill Shellow.

http://www.democracynow.org/2013/8/8/i_do_not_want_to_die

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