Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate for US Senate, called today for Manhattan federal Judge John Koeltl to give civil rights attorney Lynne Stewart a sentence of home confinement with no time behind bars. Hawkins said that Stewart‚s conviction ultimately should be overturned on appeal.

The government is calling Stewart a terrorist because of her legal work for Omar Abdel-Rahman, an Egyptian Islamic cleric convicted of “seditious conspiracy,” and has demanded that Judge John Koeltl sentence her to Federal Prison for 30 Years.

“Lynne Stewart is just the latest in a long line of victims in the war by the Bush administration and a bipartisan Congress to repeal the Bill of Rights and erode civil liberties. Bush has callously used the 9/11 attacks as a pretext to curtail the right to a fair trial, to illegally spy on Americans, and to sanction torture. Here in New York, we have witnessed the recent convictions of Muslim leaders such as Imam Umar and Yassin Aref on trumped up grounds. Even the government has admitted that they want a long prison sentence for Ms. Stewart largely to have a chilling effect on other lawyers, discouraging them from representingcontroversial clients,” stated Hawkins.

The 65- year-old attorney is suffering from breast cancer, meaning she would die in prison if sentenced to thirty years. Stewart testified that she did not support terrorism. Basing its case on illegal spying of Stewart’s meetings with her client, however, the government made the claim that Stewart had abetted terrorism by releasing a statement from her client. In addition, although Judge Koeltl informed the jury that the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Osama bin Laden were not part of the case, the court allowed the prosecution to present constant reminders of the World Trade Center disaster. The New York Times has noted, “The government never showed that any violence ever resulted from any action by Ms. Stewart.”

“Lynne Stewart has an exemplary life-long record of tireless and fearless legal advocacy for the oppressed. She has been a model for what being an attorney means. The problem here is not Ms. Stewart but a presidential administration which is intent on beating down anyone who dares challenges their effort to suppress the Constitution and rule of law,‰ added Hawkins.

Hawkins will speak at a rally in support of Lynne Stewart to be held Sunday, October 15, 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm, at Riverside Church in New York City. Stewart is be sentenced on Monday, October 16.

For more information: Sally Kim, (518) 364-2968,