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News and reports

March 16, 2007 | Page 15

ARTICLES BELOW:
Defend Lynne Stewart
Justice for the San Francisco Eight

Defend Lynne Stewart
By Steve Leigh

SEATTLE--Radical lawyer Lynne Stewart spoke to a crowd of 100 people here March 10 in commemoration of International Women's Day.

Her speech in Seattle was part of a 15-city tour to encourage radical activism and keep up public support around her case. The meeting was sponsored by Radical Women, the Arab American Community Coalition and the Black Panther Party Reunion Committee, among others.

Stewart is facing a 28-month federal prison sentence after being convicted in 2005 on charges including "materially aiding" terrorism, stemming from her issuing of press release from her imprisoned client, Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman. Though no violence ever resulted from her actions, the government sought a 30-year prison sentence for Stewart, who is well known for her decades-long legal career defending radicals and the poor.

Popular support for Stewart helped force the judge to impose a shorter sentence of 28 months. Now, the government is appealing to overturn what it sees as a "too short" sentence. Lynne also is appealing her conviction.

Stewart began by expressing admiration for her heroines--including Harriett Tubman, Mother Jones and Rosa Luxemburg. She denounced the war on Iraq for oil and empire, the racism of the criminal injustice system, and called for the dismantling of the "prison-industrial complex." She also spoke against the "war on terror" and the current attacks on immigrants.

Stewart ended her talk by calling on people to build a third party, since both Republicans and Democrats are pro-business and pro-war. "Agitate! Keep the groundswell going," she told the crowd.

Lynne ended by quoting Indian anti-globalization activist Arundhati Roy: "A new world is not only possible--on a quiet day, I can hear her breathing!"

Contributions to the Lynne Stewart Defense Fund can be made out to the National Lawyers Guild Foundation (please note "For the Lynne Stewart Defense Fund"), and sent to the Lynne Stewart Defense Committee, 350 Broadway, Suite 700, NY, NY 10013.

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Justice for the San Francisco Eight
By Roberto Rosario

NEW YORK--A diverse crowd of more than 200 people came together recently at a meeting to express their solidarity for eight former Black Panthers who were recently arrested on trumped-up murder charges stemming from the 1971 killing of a white police officer.

The event was titled "Whitewashing the Panthers: Can the Government Prosecute Black History?" and was sponsored by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, the New York City Jericho Movement, the New York City chapter of the National Lawyers Guild and the Center for Constitutional Rights.

Three of the defendants were tried in 1975. At the time, the charges were dismissed when it was revealed that New Orleans police had tortured the men into giving false confessions. Now, charges are being dug up again, and the defendants--dubbed the "San Francisco Eight"--need support.

Bob Boyle of the National Lawyers Guild spoke of the need to free all political prisoners. Daniel Bell, the son of one of the San Francisco Eight, echoed that sentiment, telling the crowd that "Political prisoners exist and they need to be free."

Panelists also made the connection between the war on our rights at home and abroad. Harold Taylor, one of the San Francisco Eight, said "The same thing is happening all over the world in Guantánamo, Iraq, Afghanistan." Gitanjali Gutierrez, a lawyer for one of the prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, called for solidarity with the Muslim population that are being tortured and forced to confess--the same tactics used to frame Black activists here at home.

Visit www.cdhrsupport.org for information.

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