White House vigil for Lynne Stewart’s compassionate release starts June 17

Outside the White House, June 18. WW photo

Outside the White House, June 18. WW photo

The continuing campaign to gain compassionate release for Lynne Stewart — the grievously ill, imprisoned human rights attorney — is headed to Washington, D.C. Despite being approved for compassionate release, Stewart continues to be held in Carswell Federal Prison in seriously deteriorating health.

Stewart’s spouse, social justice activist Ralph Poynter, will lead a continuing vigil in front of the White House starting Monday, June 17.

Poynter urges all those concerned with justice, compassion and basic human rights to join him whether they are available for an hour, for the day, or for the duration. He will be at the White House and making visits to the Federal Bureau of Prisons several blocks away, at 320 First St. NW, Washington D.C., 20534.

Stewart, 73, is suffering from stage 4 cancer in her lungs which has metastasized rapidly to her lymph nodes and shoulder. She has lost 60 pounds and her condition is deteriorating rapidly. Stewart’s condition is well-known and medically documented.

Lynne Stewart and Ralph Poynter

Lynne Stewart and Ralph Poynter

As Poynter explained to WW: “Lynne has passed all of the legalities of compassionate release and qualifies for release as the bill was written. The prison warden at Carswell in Fort Worth, Texas, has signed for her release, but not the director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Charles R. Samuels. Probation officers charged with inspecting Lynne’s future residence approved her housing. All that is required by the statute of compassionate release has been done. Yet Lynne is still in jail! Every day that her release is postponed makes treatment of her cancer more difficult.”

The national campaign for Stewart’s compassionate release started more than three months ago, in early March. Thousands of petitions were sent and thousands of phone calls made urging her release. The warden at Carswell Federal Prison recommended her immediate compassionate release in early May.

As the Lynne Stewart Defense Committee has explained, Stewart is not guilty of any crimes. In representing a prisoner charged with terrorism, Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, Stewart was unjustly convicted of delivering a simple press release for her client.

All those who are concerned with Stewart’s health and unable to go to Washington, D.C., are urged to call: President Barack Obama, 1-202-456-1414; Attorney General Eric Holder, 1-202-514-2001;

Federal Bureau of Prisons Director Charles Samuels,1-202-307-3250

Sign the petition at IACenter.org/LynneStewart or at LynneStewart.org.

Free Lynne Stewart and all political prisoners!