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As she turns 71

‘Free Lynne Stewart’

Published Oct 17, 2010 10:37 PM
WW photo: John Catalinotto

Family, friends and supporters of imprisoned “people’s lawyer” Lynne Stewart marched, sang and drummed on Oct. 8 outside the lower Manhattan prison where she is being held. It was her 71st birthday, and the crowd chanted “Free Lynne Stewart” and “Happy Birthday, Lynne,” led by the booming voice of her spouse, Ralph Poynter.

Stewart has had a long career as a human rights champion, defending the poor, the oppressed and the unpopular with zeal. Charged with aiding and abetting terrorism for representing a client, Stewart was convicted and originally sentenced to 28 months. She began serving her sentence in late 2009.

However, in a highly unusual move, federal prosecutors demanded the sentence be increased to 15 to 30 years. In July the judge resentenced Stewart to 10 years. Her case is widely viewed as a government attempt to intimidate lawyers who defend suspects charged with terrorism.