A federal appeals court on Tuesday ordered a disbarred civil rights lawyer convicted in a terrorism case to go to prison and said a judge must consider whether her sentence of a little more than two years behind bars was too lenient.
Lynne Stewart, 70, has been free on appeal since she was sentenced in 2006. The three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued its nearly 200-page ruling almost two years after hearing arguments in the case.
Stewart was sentenced to two years and four months in prison after she was found guilty of passing messages between her client, Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, and senior members of an Egyptian-based terrorist organization.
The appeals court suggested that the sentence was too lenient, especially when compared with the 20-month prison term given to her co-defendant, Mohammed Yousry, a translator who was working for her. The appeals court said the sentencing judge can also reconsider the sentences of Yousry and Ahmed Abdel Sattar, a former postal worker, depending on what the judge decides with Stewart.
The court also ordered Yousry to begin serving his sentence. Sattar is already serving his 24-year sentence.
In its ruling, the appeals court said Stewart must be resentenced because Judge John G. Koeltl declined to determine at sentencing whether Stewart committed perjury when she testified at her trial.