Sample Local News Release for Defendants Sentenced on 2/10 Print
The following release should be tailored from a local angle. It should be cut to fit onto one page. 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, 706.221.1672, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

[Your Town] Resident(s) Sentenced to [Prison/Probation] for Civil Disobedience at School of the Americas

Local Human Rights Advocate Aims to Expose Double Standard in War on Terrorism, Put SOA and U.S. Foreign Policy on Trial

Interviews Available
[if applicable]

[Your town] resident [defendant?s name] [pled/was found] guilty today in federal court of ?trespass?, and sentenced to [defendant?s sentence]. [Defendant?s last name] is among 35 defendants on trial this week for civil disobedience at the School of the Americas (renamed Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation), a controversial combat training school for Latin American soldiers. The defendants were among 10,000 who gathered in Columbus, Georgia in November to expose a double standard in the ?war on terrorism? and to call for the closure of the SOA/WHISC. Graduates of the school continue to be implicated in egregious acts designed to terrorize and coerce civilian populations throughout Latin America. [Defendant?s last name] and the other defendants peacefully crossed onto Ft. Benning, site of the school.

[Paragraph about local defendant/s and local group]

?Human rights abuses are being overlooked when it?s convenient in the ?war on terror,?? said [defendant or local organizer/clergy/politician]. ?We?re here to shine a light on a terrorist training camp that?s operating with impunity in our backyard.?

By court?s final recess [today/on Monday] 24 of the 35 defendants had been adjudicated, with sentences ranging from twelve months probation with fines and community service to six months in federal prison. 42 other defendants were tried and convicted January 25-27 on the same charges.

The trial judge, G. Mallon Faircloth, is known for giving the maximum of six months to opponents of the SOA/WHISC.

?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??

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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