<b>Catholic Priest to be Released From Jail After Three Month Sentence</b> Print
Press Conference: Main entrance to Ft. Benning, Columbus, GA
Friday, April 23 at 1:30 pm

Washington D.C.-On Friday, April 23, Father Joseph Mulligan, S.J., a Catholic priest from Detroit, will be released from the Harris County Jail in Hamilton, GA after serving a 90-day jail sentence for an act of nonviolent civil disobedience calling for the closure of the infamous School of the Americas/WHINSEC in November 2003. Following his release from jail, Father Mulligan will go to the main entrance of Ft. Benning to hold a press conference and continue his protest against SOA/WHINSEC and the U.S. occupation of Iraq.

After the news conference at 1:30 P.M., Fr. Mulligan and others will distribute leaflets to the public and to people entering Ft. Benning, urging US soldiers and the trainees from Latin America to analyze the war in Iraq and to ask themselves whether they can justify their own participation in it. If the answer is no, Father Mulligan and others suggest that the soldiers seriously consider the option of applying for conscientious objector status.

Fr. Mulligan was part of a group of 27 that included nuns, priests, a divinity student, a former New York firefighter and a Noble Peace Prize Nominee that were sentenced to 3-6 months in federal prison in January for acts of civil disobedience committed in November at Ft. Benning. The defendants were among 10,000 who gathered in November 2003 to call for the closure of the SOA, renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC).

Since 1946, the SOA has trained over 60,000 Latin American soldiers in counterinsurgency techniques, sniper training, commando & psychological warfare, military intelligence and interrogation tactics. Among its graduates are death squad leaders like Roberto D?Aubuisson from El Salvador and military dictators like Hugo Banzer of Bolivia and General Hector Gramajo of Guatemala. Graduates of the school have consistently used their skills to wage a war against their own people. Among those targeted by SOA graduates are educators, union organizers, religious workers, student leaders, and others who work for the rights of the poor. Hundreds of thousands of Latin Americans have been tortured, raped, assassinated, ?disappeared,? massacred and forced into refuge by those trained at the school. 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 WHINSEC 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 notorious reputation.