A civil rights lawyer convicted of aiding infamous terrorist the blind sheik has been released from a Texas prison early on the grounds that she is dying and has only 18 months to live due to Stage 4 breast cancer. And critics are pointing out the request was only honored because the government backed it.
FILE - In this Feb. 10, 2005 file photo, attorney Lynne Stewart cries as she speaks to the press with her husband Ralph Pointer next to her, left, outside Federal Court in New York. Stewart, a former civil rights lawyer convicted in a terrorism case and sentenced to 10 years in prison is entitled to compassionate release because she has less than 18 months to live, prosecutors and the Federal Bureau of Prisons told a judge on Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013. (AP Photo/David Karp, File)
74-year-old Lynne Stewart was released from Federal Medical Center Carswell in Fort Worth, Texas, on Tuesday. She arrived in New York a day later, according to the Associated Press. She had been sentenced to 10 years in 2005 for passing messages for the sheik, Omar Abdel-Rahman, who was convicted of being behind the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
So how was the determination made to let her go? The AP says the judge ordered her release "after prosecutors and the Federal Bureau of Prisons recommended she be set free because she has less than 18 months to live.
"In the current context of Ms. Stewart's terminal and incurable medical condition, the Bureau of Prisons believes compassionate release is appropriate at this time," a joint filing by the Bureau of Prisons and the U.S. Attorney's office said, according to the New York Daily News.
According to the Daily News, a similar request had been made by Stewart's attorney in August but was denied. What changed? The Bureau of Prisons backed this latest attempt.
That led the likes of Megyn Kelly to now categorize the release as being backed by the Obama administration:The move has elicited other outcry. Powerline blogger Paul Mirengoff had harsh words for the administration and Eric Holder:
By enabling the extraordinary release of Stewart out of sympathy for her medical condition, did those in the administration responsible for this outcome — among whom, presumably, are Attorney General Holder and President Obama — show themselves to be terrorist sympathizers? That conclusion seems too sweeping. But I think it’s fair to say that they sympathized with this particular terrorist.
Stewart will live with her son in Brooklyn, NY.
This story has been updated with additional information.