2009 Prisoners of Conscience: Jailed for Justice! Print

You can jail the resister, but you can’t jail the resistance! See you in November at the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia!

Nancy Gwin (to read Nancy's court statement, click here), 63, is an accomplished peace, justice and solidarity activist in Central New York, and a member of the steering committee of Witness for Peace Mid Atlantic. She has been to Latin America a number of times with Witness for Peace.

Early in the morning of November 22, 2009, she crossed the line onto Ft. Benning property to carry her witness closer to the School of Assassins.

"I feel strongly connected to the people of Latin America and the Caribbean -- the people of this hemisphere. For over 50 years the School of the Americas, now referred to as WHINSEC, has trained militaries with tax monies -- to commit atrocities in their homelands. I cross the line today to say, "No More!" Close this place that has been a literal and metaphorical symbol of the United States' government policies toward the people of Latin America."

Gwin said the school’s closure would send a powerful message to Latin America. “To say, ‘We are closing this school to make an equal relationship with you,’” she said. “It’s a small step, but it says we’re looking for a new future.”
Nancy was released on September, 15, 2010

Read more about Gwin and her arrest in an article by the Syracuse Post Standard, here.

Nancy will be serving 6 months in federal prison for her act of nonviolent civil disobedience

Ken is pictured in the center, in Washington, DC, before a 2007 delegation to Palestine/Israel.

Ken Hayes (to read Ken's court statement, click here), 60, is a long-time peace and justice activist from Austin, TX. He is a leader in the local Austin SOA Watch group as well as a member of the SOA Watch grassroots council representing the South.

On Sunday, November, 22, 2009 he crossed the line at the SOA and faces up to a 6 month prison sentence and a $1000 fine. He will put the SOA on trial January 25, 2010 along with co-defendants Nancy Gwin, Fr. Louis Vitale and Michael Walli.

Ken will be serving 6 months in federal prison for his act of nonviolent civil disobedience

Ken was released on September, 13, 2010!



Louis (Louie) Vitale, 77, from Oakland, CA, is a former Air Force veteran who became a Franciscan priest, pastor, and peacemaker. He co-founded the Nevada Desert Experience – a movement to end nuclear testing -- and Pace e Bene, an organization which transforms lives through education, resources, and nonviolent action for social change. Louie travels extensively throughout the United States speaking on Nonviolence; The moral dimensions of torture and drone warfare; and Living as a Peacemaker.

Louie has a PhD is Sociology, and has taught classes at colleges and universities throughout the Western states. For more than a decade he served as Pastor of St. Boniface Catholic Church, in a low-income neighborhood in San Francisco, CA, where he opened its doors to the homeless so they could sleep in the pews during the day.

Father Louie has engaged in civil disobedience for nearly four decades in pursuit of peace and justice. He has been arrested an estimated 300 times standing up against war, nuclear weapons and drones.

While protesting U.S. policy of training Latin American soldiers in torture techniques, Louie was arrested for trespass at the SOA Vigils in 2001 and 2005 for which he served prison terms of three and six months. After protests of U.S. complicity in torture at Fort Huachuca, AZ in 2006 and 2008, Louie served a five month prison term after his first arrest. The torture manuals used at the School of the Americas came from Ft. Huachuca. Ft. Huachuca is the home of the U.S. Army Intelligence Center and interrogation training school. Visit Torture on Trial to learn more.

When not in prison or traveling, Louie has been an active member of SOA Watch groups in the Bay Area. Louie’s indefatigable spirit, rootedness in nonviolence, and friendly personality are a continuing source of inspiration.

Fr. Louie will be serving 6 months in federal prison for his act of nonviolent civil disobedience.

Louie was released on July 23, 2010!


If your letter is for some reason returned, please send it to:

Louis Vitale
C/O The Nuclear Resister
PO Box 43383
Tucson, AZ 85733


Read more about Vitale and his arrest in an article by the San Francisco Chronicle, here.



Michael Walli, 61, of Washington DC has dedicated his life to working for peace and justice. Inspired by the philosophies of Dorothy Day and Mahatma Gandhi, among many others, Michael has been arrested for nonviolent civil disobedience approximately 40 times, addressing a variety of interconnected issues. These actions include crossing onto Fort Benning in protest of the School of the Americas/WHINSEC four different times, and participating in one Plowshares action in 2006 for which Michael served eight months in prison. After being arrested at Fort Benning this year, Michael refused to post bond. Judge Faircloth ordered his release, but Michael is expected to return for a January trial with his co-defendants.

Grounded in a theology of human rights, and an opposition to torture, militarization, and violence, Michael’s dedication and passion for creating a more just world is inspirational and humbling. He takes the steps that the majority of us are too scared to take and asks questions that challenge those in power. Michael truly lives out his convictions and his belief that “hatred is not our calling.”

Michael was taken into custody at his April 6th trial in Washington, DC. His current address is below.

Michela was released on June 17, 2010!!