Two SOA Watch Prisoners Sentenced Print
Friday, 07 January 2011 20:55
U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen Hyles gave both protesters a maximum sentence of six months in prison.

According to a field organizer for the SOA Watch Protests, 78 year old Nancy Smith and 28 year old Christopher Spicer were just two of four protesters who were accused of trespassing on Fort Benning in November.

The field organizer said both protesters were in good spirits as they headed into the trial.

"They were ready and hopeful and they wanted to use their bodies to shed light on what was happening in Latin America, in the Americas." Said Nico Udu-Gama, a field organizer for SOA Watch.

The annual protest at Fort Benning stems from the SOA Watch wanting to close WHINSEC'S doors, the school at Fort Benning, that educates groups such as the military. SOA Watch members claim the school's graduates return to their Latin American countries and commit human rights atrocities.

When News Three talked to Lee Rials with WHINSEC on Tuesday he said what the SOA Watch claims is not the case.

"The real issue is did the U.S. teach anything they should not, and there's no indication whatsoever that happened and that the people who came to courses there took courses that were legal, moral and ethical and if they did activities outside of that it was not what they learned from the U.S." Said Rials.

SOA Watch's Field Organizer said Smith and Spicer who are convicted of trespassing knew what they were doing.

"It's not easy to mistakenly cross on base, the people who were arrested had during the days of the protest you know knowingly crossed over." Said Udu-Gama.

As for the next protest scheduled for November 2011, Udu-Gama said he believes there will be more arrests.

"A lot of people feel like going to prison is a way to shed light on what is happening, to shed light on the greater crimes that are being committed." Said Udu-Gama.

Written by Raquel Rodriguez for WRBL News 3 on January 5, 2011.

Last Updated on Friday, 07 January 2011 21:01