Sample Release for Defendants Going to Trial in 2008 Print
for immediate release
[Date], 2008

Local Contact: [Name, phone number (preferably a cell), email address]
SOA Watch Contact: Joao Da Silva, 202.234.3440, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

[Town or State] Resident(s) Facing Federal Prison for
Civil Disobedience Opposing School of the Americas

[Local Resident?s Name] Among 11 to Begin Trial on January 28; Defendants Aim to Put SOA, Torture and US Foreign Policy on Trial

Interviews Available [if applicable]

[Town or state] resident(s) [defendant’s name(s)] is/are among 11 human rights advocates facing federal trials at the end of January and a possible six-month prison sentence for an act of civil disobedience calling for the closure of the former U.S. Army’s School of the Americas, now called the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (SOA/ WHINSEC), a military-training school for Latin American security personnel located at Fort Benning, Georgia.

The 11 defendants joined over 20,000 people at the gates of Fort Benning on the weekend of November 16-18 to demand a dramatic shift in U.S. foreign policy and the closure of the controversial U.S. Army’s School of the Americas. [Local resident] was arrested on Sunday, November 18, after crossing onto the Fort Benning military reservation in an act of nonviolent civil disobedience.The (state) resident crossed the line to protest the school’s lack of transparency, its historical ties to brutal dictatorships throughout Latin America and the ever-growing number of human rights abuses and crimes committed by its graduates.

The 11 were held at Ft. Benning and charged with "unlawful entry". The defendants were released after bail ($500 - $1,000/per person) was posted. The 11 will appear in federal court in Columbus on January 28, 2008. [Two to three sentences about local defendant/s and local group]

(Example Quote: “Those who speak out for freedom and justice are facing prison time while SOA-trained torturers and assassins continue to operate with impunity,” said) [defendant or local organizer/clergy/politician].

Since protests against the SOA/WHINSEC began 18 years ago, 226 people have served prisons sentences of up to two years for nonviolent civil disobedience.

The SOA/WHINSEC, a military training facility for Latin American security personnel located at Fort Benning, Georgia, made headlines in 1996 when the Pentagon released training manuals used at the school that advocated torture, extortion and execution. In spite of an aggressive international PR campaign and lobbying efforts on behalf of WHINSEC, support for the institute continues to erode. In 2007, Presidents Evo Morales of Bolivia and Oscar Arias of Costa Rica announced that they would cease to send military and police to the school, becoming the 4th and 5th countries after Argentina, Uruguay and Venezuela to commit to a withdrawal from the U.S. Army training facility.

On the weekend of November 16-18, thousands of people took part in simultaneous events calling for the closure of the School of the Americas in Chile, Arizona, California and Canada. Three were arrested for attempting to bring their witness against torture onto the Fort Huachuca military base during the vigil in Sierra Vista, Arizona.

School of the Americas Watch [or your group?s name]
www.soaw.orgsroom [or your group?s website]

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