Trial Update - SOAW 11 Sentenced to Federal Prison Print

"I crossed the line at WHINSEC and prayed on the grounds to bring attention to the teaching of torture and assassination. When enough people learn the truth about this school and act to end these practices, the healing can begin."
- Diane Lopez-Hughes, one of the SOAW 11

The Eleven courageous souls that willingly put their freedom and bodies at risk to stand in witness against the SOA/WHINSEC during the November 2007 Vigil have been sentenced to federal prison on charges of "trespassing on a military base".

The trial, which began at 9:00 AM this morning in Columbus, Georgia, took place in a courthouse located just a few miles from Fort Benning, the current site of the SOA/WHINSEC. An institute known around the world for its ties to brutal dictatorships and human rights abuses, which continues to operate, unchallenged by our government but not by the people.

The SOAW 11, ranging in ages from 25 to 78 and from very diverse walks of life, testified today before magistrate G. Malon Faircloth. Ed Lewinson, a 78-year old History professor who in November crossed the line for the fourth time, was sentenced to 90 days in federal prison and a $500 fine. This is his first conviction since in previous years the government refused to prosecute due to his blindness. Tiel Rainelli, a 25 year old activist from Canton, OH who was arrested this past November after climbing over the barbed wire fence blocking the main gate of Fort Benning, announced that in spite of the courts decision to sentence her to 90 days in prison, she would return to protest at the gates of Fort Benning in November.

The SOAW 11 are:

- Joan Anderson, 65, Casper, WY - 30 days and a $500 fine
- Ozone Bhaguan, 33, Duluth, MN - 90 days and no fine
- Le Anne Clausen, 29, Chicago, IL. - 30 days and no fine
- Art Landis, 74, Perkasie, PA - 30 days and no fine
- Ed Lewinson, 78, Newark NJ - 90 days and a $500 fine
- Chris Lieberman, 54, Albuquerque, NM - 60 days and no fine
- Diane Lopez Hughes, 58, Springfield, IL - 45 days and a $500 fine
- Tiel Rainelli, 25, Canton, OH. - 90 days and a $500 fine
- Gus Roddy, 45, Chicago, IL - 30 days and a $500 fine
- Stephen Schweitzer, 45, Binghamtom, NY - 60 days and a $500 fine
- Michelle Yipé, 45, of Argonia, KS - 30 days and a $500 fine

Read more about the SOAW 11...

- Please consider making a contribution to support the campaign to Shut Down the SOA/WHINSEC!

Take Action!

The SOAW-11 have courageously taken their protest to close the SOA/ WHINSEC onto the grounds of Fort Benning, GA and YOU can help take the message to Washington DC! One way to support the SOAW-11 is to be a part of our legislative campaign.

Is your Representative in Congress one of our supporters?! At the bottom of the Legislative Action Index we have a complete list of all of the HR 1707 cosponsors. If your Representative is not on this list, get involved in our action campaign!

We've made it easy for you to contact your member of Congress and ask them to cosponsor HR 1707, legislation that would suspend operations at the SOA/ WHINSEC and investigate the use of torture manuals and the association of human rights abusers with the school.

- Click here to send an email to your Representative now!

The SOA Watch legislative team has also created a new resource for you to bring this important issue to the national level by making the closure of the SOA/ WHINSEC a part of the 2008 Presidential, House, and Senate elections.

- Check out our Elections Packet with bird-dogging tips, resources, and strategy on how to make the SOA/ WHINSEC a part of this year's elections.

For more information about the Legislative Campaign, contact Pam Bowman, the SOA Watch Legislative Coordinator at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or (202) 234-3440.