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Copyright 2005 Mumia Abu-Jamal/Prison Radio

"Lynne Stewart Speaks "

  rec 5-15-05 

1) 4:06 short essay MP3

2) 5:29 long essay MP3

LYNNE STEWART SPEAKS
======================
[Col. Writ. 5/14/05] Copyright '05 by Mumia Abu-Jamal

  Attorney Lynne Stewart has a long and distinguished career as a radical lawyer who has worked on cases that most lawyers look down their noses at.

  Today, for taking on the case of the blind Egyptian sheik, Abdel Omar Rahman, a man charged with inspiring the first
bombing of the World Trade Center, and trying to defend his case publicly, Stewart (and her colleagues and codefendants, professional Arabic translator, Mohammed Yousry, and paralegal, Ahmed Abdel Sattar) stand convicted of aiding and abetting terrorism.

   At the heart of the case, almost unbelievably, are prison regulations, called SAMs (or Special Administrative Measures), which are designed to isolate prisoners.  Stewart and the other lawyers signed these regulations, never thinking that the State would use these rules, put in place by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, to interfere with legal representation of their client.

  Of course, they were wrong, and in a recent interview, Stewart explained what lay behind the convictions:

     "I really do think there was a pervasive fear out there.  I think that the government -- you know
     when we talk about fascism, we talk about textbook fascism, but really it's an emotion more
     than anything else -- and I think that the jury bought into 'we have to protect the country and
     the way to do that is to back the government.'  You know it's classic to say 'If we do what
     the government tells us, if we do what the government thinks best, then we will be safe.'  Which
     raises that other question, doesn't it, about whether an empire abroad can ever have a
     democracy at home?"

  Stewart explained the alleged basis of the SAMs violation:

     "After Sheik Omar was convicted he was sent to the middle of America and that wasn't
     good enough for the government, so they imposed on him these very harsh prison
     regulations... He was only allowed one phone call a month to his family and one
     a week to his lawyers and that was it.  He was not allowed to communicate with
     the media at all.  And there were various other things as well: no outside visitors
     who were not family, not even for religious reasons.  So, these very, very
     restrictive regulations were put in place.  And then the lawyers, all of us, myself,
     Ramsey Clark, Abdeen Jabara; we all were asked to sign on that we were aware that he
     was under those and that we would abide by them.  But it was our thinking:
     well, of course, these prison regulations can not interfere with the legal work.  And
     so as a result we did what we thought we had to do for the client, that is,
     keeping him advised of those events and things that would influence his case
     and be important for him to know and understand ... [S]o they put these very
     harsh regulations, one of them included the media.  And, of course, what I did
     was I made a press release just as we had been doing for the last four years.
     And it was only after September 11th that this act which had been done in 2000
     suddenly became actionable in the government's eyes.  I always like to talk about,
     you know, they're moving the line.  You know they talk about I crossed the
     line, but they moved the line after September 11th, and then they moved it
     again, of course, to get this conviction by bringing in all sorts of extraneous,
     but very prejudicial, things."

  'Prejudicial', like a videotape of the notorious Osama bin Laden, being shown to the New York jury!

  With such tactics as these, we should be surprised that we were surprised, that she, Yousry and Sattar were convicted.

  Stewart, Yousry and Sattar a planning vigorous appeals, and Stewart has been supported by groups such as the National Lawyers Guild, and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

  Some of the more toney, and wealthy law firms have been somewhat slower to support Stewart, but even conservatives, like Judge Andrew Napolitano, in a *New York Times* op-ed piece, called the convictions a "perverse victory in the Justice Department's assault on the Constitution."  Napolitano, a frequent Fox News contributor, wrote:

     "In the good old days, only Congress could write federal criminal laws.  After
     9/11, however, the attorney general was allowed to do so.  Where in the
     Constitution does it allow that? [fr. Napolitano, Andrew P., "No Defense",
*New York Times* (online), 2/17/04; http://nytimes.com/2005/02/17/opinion/
     17napolitano.html? ].

  Well said.  But to paraphrase Tina Turner, 'What's the Constitution got to do with it?'

  The law is an instrument of politics and power.

  Lynne Stewart transgressed *politically*, not legally, and the trial was but a formality.

  The Constitution, like the Declaration of Independence, is endlessly invoked, but often ignored when it comes to how courts really rule, and how life is really lived.

  It's up to people, folks like you, to organize to make change a reality.  Words on paper have never sufficed.

  Support Lynne Stewart, Mohammed Yousry, and Ahmed Abdel Sattar!


Copyright 2005 Mumia Abu-Jamal

 

  [Check out Mumia's latest: *WE WANT FREEDOM:
A Life in the Black Panther Party*, from South
End Press (http://www.southendpress.org); Ph.
#1-800-533-8478.]
===============================

"When a cause comes along and you know in your bones that it is
just, yet refuse to defend it--at that moment you begin to die.
And I have never seen so many corpses walking around talking about
justice." - Mumia Abu-Jamal

MUMIA'S COLUMNS NEED TO BE PUBLISHED AS BROADLY
AS POSSIBLE TO INSPIRE PROGRESSIVE MOVEMENT AND
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========================================

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==============================================>

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The Power of Truth is Final — Free Mumia!

PLEASE CONTACT:
International Concerned Family & Friends of MAJ
P.O. Box 19709
Philadelphia, PA 19143
Phone - 215-476-8812/ Fax - 215-476-6180
E-mail - AND OFFER YOUR SERVICES!

Send our brotha some LOVE and LIGHT at:
Mumia Abu-Jamal
AM 8335
SCI-Greene
175 Progress Drive
Waynesburg, PA 15370

WE WHO BELIEVE IN FREEDOM CAN *NOT* REST!!

Submitted by: Sis. Marpessa