Sample Local News Release for Defendants Going to Trial Starting January 27th Print
The following release should be tailored from a local angle. Please ask your local newspaper to request the AP or Reuters coverage if they are unable to send a reporter to cover the trial with you. Also ask your local TV stations to contact their affiliates in Columbus for coverage.

for immediate release
Local Contact: [Name and Phone Number]
SOA Watch Contact: Matthew Smucker, 202.903.7257, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

[Your Town] Resident(s) Among Human Rights Activists Facing Federal Trial for Civil Disobedience at School of the Americas

Defendants Aim to Expose Double Standard in War on Terrorism,Put SOA and US Foreign Policy on Trial

Interviews Available
[if applicable]

[Your town] resident [Defendant?s name] is among 43 human rights advocates going to federal court [Monday OR today], January 27 for civil disobedience at the School of the Americas (renamed Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation) in Columbus, Georgia. The defendants were among 10,000 who gathered in November to expose a double standard in the ?war on terrorism? and to call for the closure of the SOA/WHISC. The defendants peacefully crossed onto Ft. Benning, site of the school. They are charged with trespass and face up to six months in federal prison and $5,000 in fines.

Thirty-five others are scheduled to start trial on February 10. All of the defendants will appear before Judge G. Mallon Faircloth in Columbus.

[Paragraph about local defendant/s and local group]

Judge Faircloth is known for giving the maximum of six months to opponents of the SOA/WHISC. Nearly one hundred people have served a total of over fifty years in prison for engaging in nonviolent resistance in a broad-based campaign to close the school.

?Those who speak out for justice are facing prison time while SOA-trained torturers and assassins are operating with impunity,? said [defendant or local organizer/clergy/politician].

The SOA/WHISC is a combat training school for Latin American soldiers. Its graduates are consistently involved in human rights abuses and atrocities. In 1996 the Pentagon was forced to release training manuals used at the school that advocated the use of torture, extortion and execution.

In a new report Amnesty International calls for a suspension of training at the SOA/WHISC, and an independent commission of inquiry to investigate the school. Amnesty refutes the claim that the WHISC is a new institution, stating that WHISC "is essentially the same school as SOA, with the same primary mission??

?This school is the terrorist training camp in our own backyard,? said [defendant or local organizer/clergy/politician].

SOA Watch works to stand in solidarity with people of Latin America, to change oppressive US foreign policy, and to close the SOA/WHISC. [or your group?s mission sentence]

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

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