Emergency action called for two women political prisoners in U.S.

Following are excerpts from an International Action Center news release announcing a press conference for Friday, March 8, International Women’s Day, in the Zenger Room, National Press Club, in Washington, D.C.

[The conference] will focus on the emergency situation of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui and the health crisis of attorney Lynne Stewart. The gathering will also pay homage to the memory of Rachel Corrie and support her family’s campaign for accountability.

At 3 p.m., a support rally for Dr. Aafia Siddiqui will be held at the Pakistan Embassy, 3517 International Court, Washington, D.C., 20008.

The speakers at the Press Conference will include:

Mauri Saalakhan, director, The Peace Thru Justice Foundation

Ralph Poynter, Lynne Stewart’s spouse

Saleen Muhammad Aktar, American Muslim Alliance and Pakistan American Democratic Forum

Sue Udry, executive director, Defending Dissent Foundation

Steve Downs, National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms

Joe Lombardo, national coordinator of United National Antiwar Coalition

Anne Wright, retired U.S. Army colonel and former U.S. diplomat

Sara Flounders, co-director, International Action Center

Call to Repatriate Dr. Aafia Siddiqui to Pakistan

Dr. Aafia Siddiqui is a citizen of Pakistan. She was not charged with committing any crime on U.S. soil, nor is she a U.S. citizen. Dr. Siddiqui, serving an 86-year sentence in federal prison in Carswell, Texas, was not charged with terrorism, nor was she ever charged with injuring or harming anyone anywhere.

She is a victim of terrible life-threatening injuries. She should not have been extradited to the U.S. nor subjected to a show trial in the U.S. She should not be held in solitary confinement.

Siddiqui and her family have repeatedly maintained that she and her three young children were kidnapped in March 2003 and that, while in U.S. custody, she was tortured and held in isolation for five years in Afghanistan.

Aafia Siddiqui holds a place in the hearts of people of conscience internationally, irrespective of their faith, nationality or location. Her case represents the U.S. policy of secret rendition and the many disappeared and missing in Pakistan.

March 2013 marks the 10th year of Dr. Siddiqui’s political imprisonment. … The campaign to secure the repatriation of Dr. Siddiqui to Pakistan has the support of millions of people in Pakistan.

A petition to U.S. and Pakistani government officials urging Dr Aafia Siddiqui’s immediate repatriation to Pakistan is available at iacenter.org/SiddiquiPetition/

‘Compassionate Release’ of Lynne Stewart

Internationally known human rights attorney Lynne Stewart is faced with an immediate, life-threatening crisis. Her breast cancer, which had been in remission prior to her imprisonment, has appeared in her lymph nodes, on her shoulder, in her bones and her lungs — and has reached stage four.

After eight years of post-conviction freedom, Lynne Stewart’s bail was revoked arbitrarily and her imprisonment ordered, precluding a surgery she had scheduled in a major New York hospital.

Also, being held at Carswell Federal Prison, where trips to physicians involve attempting to walk with 10 pounds of shackles on her wrists and ankles, Stewart has lacked ready access to physicians and specialists. It can take weeks to see a medical provider in prison. When held in the hospital, 73-year-old Lynne has been shackled, wrist and ankle, to the bed.

Unjustly charged and convicted for the “crime” of providing her client with a fearless defense, the prosecution of Lynne Stewart is an assault upon the basic freedoms of us all.

There is an immediate remedy available for Stewart: The Bureau of Prisons can file a motion with the court to reduce sentences “for extraordinary and compelling reasons.” Life-threatening illness is foremost among these, and Stewart meets every rational and humane criterion for compassionate release.

A petition to U.S. government officials and federal prison officials urging compassionate release for Lynne Stewart is available at iacenter.org/LynneStewartPetition

Accountability for the death of Rachel Corrie

The late Rachel Corrie was a gifted and compassionate 23-year-old activist. In the presence of many witnesses, she was brutally crushed to death by an Israeli soldier operating an American-made Caterpillar bulldozer in broad daylight 10 years ago, on March 16, 2003, while attempting to nonviolently prevent the destruction of a Palestinian family’s home in the Rafah refugee camp.

The state of Israel denied responsibility, and, as usual, blames the victim for what, in reality, was their crime! In August 2012, an Israeli court upheld the results of Israel’s 2003 military investigation, ruling that the Israeli government was not responsible for Corrie’s death — she was.

Rachel’s parents have continued a political and legal struggle for accountability.