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Home News Press Releases Human Rights Activists Sentenced to Prison for Civil Disobedience at School of the Americas
Human Rights Activists Sentenced to Prison for Civil Disobedience at School of the Americas PDF Print E-mail
Columbus, GA ?- Twenty-nine human rights activists were given sentences today ranging from three to six months in federal prison. Seven received six months probation. Fines ranged from none to $5000. Thirty-seven defendants had been in federal court all this week for civil disobedience at the School
of the Americas (renamed Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation) in Columbus, Georgia. Ken Crowley was the first defendant called before the judge for sentencing. His attorney brought up the fact that the federal probation office had made a recommendation of 12 months probation and a $500 fine. Judge Faircloth ordered that none of the other
probation office recommendations were to be talked about. It is believed that a majority of the defendants received the same recommendations.

Eight of the defendants pled guilty to trespass on Monday. Ten pled not guilty while stipulating to the facts presented by the prosecution. Judge G. Mallon Faircloth found these ten guilty on Tuesday. Fourteen defendants were tried on Tuesday and Wednesday ? all found guilty with one exception. Five defendants who represented themselves were tried Thursday. All of the
defendants (excepting the one acquitted) were sentenced yesterday afternoon well into the night.

The ?SOA 37? were among 10,000 who gathered last November to call for the closure of the notorious SOA/WHISC. The defendants peacefully crossed onto Ft. Benning, site of the school. Judge Faircloth is known for giving the maximum of six months to SOA/WHISC opponents. Seventy-one people have served a total of over forty years in prison for engaging in nonviolent resistance in a broad-based campaign to close the school. Last year 26
people were prosecuted, including Dorothy Hennessey, an 88 year-old Franciscan nun who was sentenced to six months in federal prison.

"Those who speak out for justice are facing harsh prison sentences while SOA-trained torturers and assassins are operating with impunity,? said SOA Watch founder Fr. Roy Bourgeois. Defendant Sr. Kathleen Desautels, a 64-year old nun added, ?The indignities I will have to experience in prison
pale in comparison to what the victims of the graduates of that school had to endure.?

The SOA/WHISC is a combat training school for Latin American soldiers. Its graduates are consistently involved in human rights abuses. In 1996 the Pentagon was forced to release training manuals used at the school that advocated the use of torture, extortion and execution. In December 2000 Congress authorized the WHISC to replace the SOA. The renaming of the
school was widely viewed as an attempt to diffuse public criticism and to disassociate the school from its reputation. SOA Watch maintains that the underlying purpose of the school, to control the economic and political systems of Latin America by aiding and influencing Latin American militaries, remains the same.


Sentencing of the 37 SOA Watch Defendants
(listed in order of state)


Fr. William O'Donnell Berkeley, CA, 72, Sentenced to six months in federal prison, $1000 fine

Leone Reinbold Oakland, CA, Sentenced to six months probation, $500 fine

Fr. Louis Vitale San Francisco, CA, Sentenced to three months in federal prison

Toni Flynn Valyermo, CA, 56, Sentenced to six months in federal prison (in custody now)

Jonna Cohen Denver, CO, 20, Sentenced to three months in federal prison, $500 fine

Michael Sobol Golden CO, 18, Sentenced to three months in federal prison, $500 fine

Kathy Shields Boylan Washington DC, 58, Sentenced to three months in federal prison, $500 fine

Richard Ring Atlanta, GA, 33, Sentenced to three months in federal prison, $500 fine

Mary Dean Chicago, IL, 37, Sentenced to six months in a federal prison, $1000 fine

Sr. Kathleen Desautels Chicago, IL, 64, Sentenced to six months in a federal prison

Brigid Conarchy Grayslake, IL, 23, Sentenced to six months probation, $500 fine and barred from entering Muskogee County for twelve months

Fr. Jerry Zawada Cedar Lake, IN, 65, Sentenced to six months in federal prison (in custody now)

Janice Sevre-Duszynska Nicholasville, KY, 52, Sentenced to three months in federal prison, $500 fine

Ralph Madsen Newtonville, MA, 68, Sentenced to six months probation, $500 fine

Palmer Legare Springfield, MA, Sentenced to three months in federal prison, $500 fine

Rev. Charles Booker-Hirsch Ann Arbor, MI, 41, Sentenced to three months in federal prison, $500 fine

Maxwell Sadler Edwards Waterville, ME, Sentenced to six months in federal prison, $2500 fine

Summer Nelson Missoula, MT, 26, Sentenced to three months in federal prison, $500 fine (in custody now)

Tom Mahedy Wall, NJ, 39, Former Navy ROTC. Sentenced to three months in federal prison

Linda Holzbaur Ithaca, NY, 45, Sentenced to six months probation, $500 fine

Rae Kramer Syracuse, NY, 55, Sentenced to six months in a federal prison, $5,000 fine

Laura MacDonald Syracuse, NY, 23, Sentenced to three months in federal prison, $500 fine (in custody now)

Mike Pasquale Syracuse, NY, 33, Sentenced to six months in a federal prison, $1000 fine

Chani Geigle Salem, OR 19, Sentenced to six months in a federal prison, $1000 fine

Shannon McManimon Philadelphia, PA 26, Sentenced to six months probation, $500 fine

Rev. Erik Johnson Maryville, TN, 57, Sentenced to six months in federal prison, $1000 fine

Kenneth Crowley Houston, TX, 60, Sentenced to six months in federal prison, $1000 fine

Niklan Jones-Lezama Blacksburg, VA, 38, Sentenced to six months in federal prison

David O'Neill Elkton, VA, Sentenced to six months probation, $500 fine

Lee Sturgis Elkton, VA, Sentenced to six months probation, $500 fine

Peter Gelderloos Harrisonburg, VA 19, Sentenced to six months in federal prison (in custody now)

Abi Miller Harrisonburg, VA, 23, Sentenced to three months in federal prison, $500 fine

Sue Daniels Pembroke, VA, 41, Sentenced to three months in federal prison, $500 fine

Nancy Gowen Richmond, VA, 68, Sentenced to three months in federal prison, $500 fine

Lisa Hughes W. Hartford, VT, 36, Acquitted

John Heid Luck, WI, 47, Sentenced to six months in federal prison

Kate Fontanazza Milwaukee, WI 53, Sentenced to six months in federal prison, $1000 fine
 

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