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Dec 11th
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Human Rights Activist Sentenced to Six Months in Federal Prison

SOA Watch activist Theresa Cusimano was sentenced on January 13, 2012 to the maximum prison term of six months in federal prison for trespassing.  Theresa crossed onto the Fort Benning military base this past November as part of the annual vigil to protest the continued operation of the SOA/ WHINSEC.

Theresa, 43, was taken into custody in the courtroom immediately following her January trial in Columbus, Georgia.

“Our message is not being heard in Congress because our lawmakers have been purchased by other priorities,” said Cusimano. “I chose civil disobedience because the lawless acts promoted by the School of the Americas are human rights crimes unfitting of a so-called world superpower.”

The harsh six-month prison sentence is intended to stifle dissent and to deter other human rights activists from engaging in direct action. Since beginning to oversee these trials last year, Judge Stephen Hyles has imposed the maximum prison sentence on all four SOA Watch activist who have come before him.

Despite his punitive sentencing, activists will continue to risk arrest, demanding that institutions like the SOA/WHINSEC no longer protect the 1%’s greed over the 99% and instead work to cultivate a culture of peace, mutual respect, and justice across the Western Hemisphere.

Theresa joins a long line of people who have used civil disobedience to call attention to the killings, repression and human rights abuses perpetrated by graduates of the SOA/ WHINSEC. Protests against the school began more than 20 years ago, and since then over 300 people have been arrested and prosecuted, collectively serving over 100 years in prison.

Support Theresa! Send letters to her in prison. Write or call the media. Ask them to do a story on prisoners of conscience and the SOA. Talk to the national SOA Watch office to be connected to people in your area who have been active in the movement and who may have served time for civil disobedience actions.

Urge your representatives in Congress to close the SOA!

Consider engaging in direct action: Keep the pressure on! People who put their bodies on the line to speak out for justice have played a crucial role in the struggle to close the SOA.

Visit www.SOAW.org/prisoner

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Download the Spring 2016 issue of Presente

The Spring issue contains mobilizing information for the SOA Watch Border Convergence, which is taking place from October 7-10, 2016 at the US/Mexico border in Nogales, and also focuses on recent developments in Latin America and within the SOA Watch movement.

Click here to download a PDF version of the Spring 2016 issue.

As this issue of Presente went to print, our hearts were heavy. The assassination of our dear friend and comrade Berta Cáceres, and the increased repression against social movement groups, have left us shocked and saddened. SOA Watch Latin America liaison Brigitte Gynther traveled to Honduras the morning after she learned about the assassination and has been coordinating SOA Watch’s response together with our partner groups on the ground. If you do not already receive Urgent Action emails from us, please click here to sign up now.

The recent decision by the U.S. judge in North Carolina to extradite one of the perpetrators of the 1989 massacre at the University of San Salvador gives us hope that justice will prevail in the end. It will take all of us to create change! Please join us as we mobilize to the U.S./Mexico border from October 7-10, 2016!

Other articles in this issue cover a protest by SOA Watch in Chile against US bases in Latin America, the FBI surveillance of SOA Watch, updates from Colombia and Mexico, news about the first Border Patrol agent to receive training at WHINSEC, background information about Direct Action, the Youth Encuentro in Guatemala, and more.

Download this issue of Presente here.

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