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Home News Organizing Updates Legislation - Torture Victory --Upcoming Trials
Legislation - Torture Victory --Upcoming Trials PDF Print E-mail

SOA Watch Update

January 18, 2006

Bring the Vigil to Washington: April 23-25, 2006

Be a part of this year's legislative campaign!

This year we have our best chance in years to close the School of the Americas, but we need as many people as possible dedicating these next few months to constant pressure on our Members of Congress. We can win a vote in Congress to close the school by following a series of easy action items each month. Please share this email and these action items with your family, friends, coworkers, and communities and let them know that it has never been more important to be involved in the legislative campaign to close the SOA/ WHINSEC.

For the next few months, we will release new, easy action items that YOU can take to make a win in Congress a reality. Starting this month, visit our legislative action index for four steps to take during the next few weeks.

Be a part of the 2006 legislative campaign to close the School of the Assassins!

Anti-SOA activists take struggle to the courts

In November of 2005, 40 people were arrested in acts of civil disobedience calling for the closure of the School of the Americas. Thirty four of these individuals will begin federal trials in Columbus, Georgia on Monday, January 30.

On Sunday, January 29, at 7 pm, a Festival of Hope will be held at the Columbus, Georgia Howard Johnson's to celebrate these 34 members of our movement and the ongoing, worldwide resistance to the SOA and systems of oppression. Please join us if you?ll be in the area! This is our opportunity to celebrate the courageous stand of the 34 and remember the thousands in Latin America who work for peace, human rights and economic justice. Contact the SOA Watch office for more information.

These 34 defendants join 233 others in our movement who have faced trial for acts of civil disobedience at Fort Benning, the home of the School of the Americas. Since our movement began, 186 activists have been sentenced to prison or home confinement, and 47 have been sentenced to probation. We gather in remembrance and hope as our friends take our protest into the federal courts.

Help support those facing prison. Five SOA Watch activists are currently in custody at different jails and prisons. Write to them to offer your support! Find addresses here.

Learn more about political prisoners and the prison industrial complex in the US: visit Critical Resistance, Prison Activist Resource Center, and The Nuclear Resister.

Victory against impunity: $54M torture verdict reinstated

In a stunning reversal last week, a federal appeals court in Atlanta reinstated a West Palm Beach jury verdict awarding $54.6 million to three plaintiffs who accused two former Salvadoran generals of doing nothing to stop subordinates from torturing them.

The plaintiffs, Juan Romagoza Arce, Neris González and Carlos Mauricio, sued former Salvadoran Generals and SOA graduates José Guillermo García and Carlos Eugenio Vides Casanova in 1999.

In February, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had revoked the $54.6 million verdict against the two retired Salvadoran generals who commanded troops in their Central American homeland during the civil war in the 1980s. But on January 11, the court changed its mind.

The reason: the panel decided it was wrong to initially conclude that the plaintiffs -- a church worker, a rural doctor and a university professor -- could not get the money because they waited until after the 10-year statute of limitations expired to sue.

The Center for Justice and Accountability, which brought the suit on behalf of the plaintiffs, celebrated another victory against impunity in November of 2005, when a Memphis federal court jury found Salvadoran Colonel Nicolas Carranza, the former Vice-Minister of Defense of El Salvador, responsible for overseeing torture and killings in that country. The jury of nine U.S. citizens sent a powerful message that torturers and human rights abusers will not be allowed to reside in the United States with impunity.

This week?s ruling reversal is a victory for all people struggling for an end to impunity, for an end to torture and for a more just world. Congratulations, Juan Romagoza, Neris González, Carlos Mauricio and the Center for Justice and Accountability!

Read the Miami Herald story.

Listen to the National Radio Project's show "Documenting Torture: Holding the United States Accountable," featuring interviews with Carlos Mauricio and Father Roy Bourgeois.

URUGUAY & ARGENTINA: Closing the SOA from Latin America?s Southern Cone ? March 19-30, 2006

On this delegation, co-sponsored by SOA Watch, Nonviolence International, Marin Interfaith Task Force on the Americas and Global Exchange, participants will meet with Uruguayan and Argentine government officials to urge that no more soldiers be sent to the SOA/WHINSEC. The group will also meet with Fr. Roy Bourgeois and other SOA Watch leaders who are part of a separate trip to Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay to campaign for Latin American countries to stop sending students to the SOA/WHINSEC. The delegation will also commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Argentine military coup, and will meet peace, human rights activists and family members of the disappeared.

Participants will learn of worker cooperatives, economic justice struggles & environmental movements and will discover how independent media in Uruguay and Argentina play an important role in the movement for justice and peace. Read more and apply.

Save the date! April 23-25 in Washington, DC
Tell Congress to Close the SOA

Read more about the Spring Lobby Days


Contact us

SOA Watch
733 Euclid Street NW
Washington, DC 20001

phone: 202-234-3440
email: info@soaw.org