World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


US: Seventeen Sentenced to Prison, Trials Continue

Seventeen Sentenced to Prison as Trials Continue for Human Rights

Advocates

81-year-old WWII Veteran among 32 Charged in Columbus, Georgia

COLUMBUS, GA – The week after a military jury in Colorado decided not to jail an Army interrogator even after they found him guilty of negligent homicide in the torture and killing of an Iraqi detainee, a federal judge in Columbus, Georgia is sentencing nonviolent activists to months in federal prison. The 32 defendants, ranging in age from 19 to 81, are charged with trespass after peacefully walking onto the Fort Benning military base in protest of a controversial Army training school located there.

Yesterday, Judge G. Mallon Faircloth sentenced 17 human rights advocates, including Delmar Schwaller, an 81-year-old retired World War II Veteran, to between one and six months in prison; thirteen of those individuals were also fined between $500 and $1,000. Trials are expected to continue at least throughout today. Each person faces a maximum sentence of six months in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Those arrested were among 19,000 who gathered in November outside the gates of Fort Benning to demand a dramatic shift in U.S. foreign policy and the closure of the controversial U.S. Army’s School of the

Americas, now called the Western Hemisphere Institute of Security Cooperation (SOA/WHINSEC).

“I have written hundreds of letters to the editor, met with many U.S. officials, and helped to found three human rights organizations,” said defendant GAIL PHARES, 66, of North Carolina, on the steps of the U.S. Courthouse. “In my 40 years of experience in Latin America, I've witnessed a number of patterns repeated over and over which trace death, torture and suffering back to troops trained in counter-insurgency warfare by the U.S. military, many of whom were trained at the School of the Americas.”

The SOA/ WHINSEC made headlines in 1996 when the Pentagon released training manuals used at the school that advocated torture, extortion and execution. Despite this admission and hundreds of documented human rights abuses connected to soldiers trained at the school, no independent investigation into the facility has ever taken place. New research confirms that the school continues to support known human rights abusers.

Despite having been investigated by the United Nations for ordering the shooting of 16 indigenous peasants in El Salvador, Col. Francisco del Cid Diaz returned to SOA/ WHINSEC in 2003.

Judge Faircloth is known for handing down stiff sentences to opponents of the SOA/ WHINSEC. Since protests against the SOA/ WHINSEC began more than a decade ago, 183 people have served a total of over 81 years in prison for engaging in nonviolent resistance in a broad-based campaign to close the school.

The movement to close the SOA/ WHINSEC continues to grow. In 2005, Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) introduced HR 1217, a bill to suspend operations at WHINSEC and to investigate the development and use of the “torture manuals.” The bill currently has 123 bipartisan co-sponsors.

“People speaking out for justice and accountability will most likely be sent to prison this week,” said FR. ROY BOURGEOIS, founder of SOA

Watch, “while the SOA and its graduates continue to operate outside a system of real accountability.”

* * * Interviews Available * * *

== ADJUDICATED DEFENDANTS ==

SENTENCED TO ONE MONTH IN PRISON:

Anika Cunningham, 26, Bowling Green, Ohio (and $500 fine)

SENTENCED TO TWO MONTHS IN PRISON:

Joanne Cowan, 56, Boulder, Colorado ($500 fine)

Sam Foster, 70, Minneapolis, Minnesota ($500 fine)

Michael Gayman, 26, Davenport, Iowa ($500 fine)

Judith Ruland, 47, Springfield, Massachusetts ($500 fine)

Delmar Schwaller, 81, Appleton, Wisconsin (no fine)

SENTENCED TO THREE MONTHS IN PRISON:

Buddy Bell, 23, Chicago, Illinois ($500 fine)

Fred Brancel, 79, Madison, Wisconsin ($500 fine)

Robert Call, 72, Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey (no fine)

Scott Dempsky, 30, Denmark, Wisconsin ($500 fine)

Joe DeRaymond, 55, Freemansburg, Pennsylvania ($500 fine)

Robin Lloyd, 67, Burlington, Vermont ($500 fine)

Donte Smith, 19, Washington, DC ($500 fine)

SENTENCED TO SIX MONTHS IN PRISON:

Fr. Louis Vitale, 73, San Francisco, California (no fine)

Jane Hosking, 37, Luck, Wisconsin ($1,000 fine)

John LaForge, 41, Luck, Wisconsin ($1,000 fine)

SENTENCED TO TIME SERVED (after 70+ days in county jail):

Priscilla Treska, 66, Cleveland, Ohio (no fine)

CONVICTED LAST WEEK, AWAITING SENTENCING:

Charles Carney, 47, Kansas City, Kansas

== DEFENDANTS AWAITING TRIAL ==

(listed in order of state)

Sarah Harper, 36, Emeryville, California

Dorothy Parker, 76, Chico, California

Cheryl Sommers, 68, Berkeley, California

David Sylvester, 54, Oakland, California

Ken Crowley, Washington, DC

Fr. Jerome Zawada, 68, Cedar Lake, Indiana

Rita Hohenshell, 81, Des Moines, Iowa

Stephen Clemens, 55, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Jamie Walters, 41, Columbia, Missouri

Frank Woolever, 72, Syracuse, New York

Gail Phares, 66, Raleigh, North Carolina

Edward "Naed" Smith, 38, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Sr. Mary Dennis Lentsch, 69, Oak Ridge, Tennessee

http://www.SOAW.org/

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Palestine: Border Police Extremely Close When They Shot The US Activist

New testimony at final hearing in Tristan Anderson's trial indicates Border Police were extremely close when they shot the US activist in the head More>>

Palestine: Ni’lin Demonstrators Met With Violence

International Solidarity Movement On the 20th of March, during Ni’lin’s weekly Friday demonstration, Israeli occupation forces attacked protestors with about 20 rounds of tear gas canisters shot with the ‘venom’ tear gas launcher mounted on a military jeep ... More>>

ALSO:

UN Envoy Says Yemen On 'Rapid Downward Spiral'

Yemen stands on the brink of civil war amid deepening political tensions and an uptick in sectarian violence, United Nations Special Adviser Jamal Benomar warned today as he explained that only through dialogue could the country achieve a peaceful political transition. More>>


Continued International Support As Vanuatu Recovers

Damage seen on Saturday 14 March 2015 in Port Vila, capital of Vanuatu, after Cyclone Pam moved through the Archipelago. Photo: UNICEF Pacific More>>

UNICEF Rushes Emergency Supplies For Cyclone-Affected Tuvalu

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) is dispatching emergency life-saving supplies to communities in Tuvalu as part of its efforts to assist communities in the Pacific region that were affected by Tropical Cyclone Pam, with nutrition and hygiene kits arriving today. More>>

Vanuatu: Regenvanu Expects 50% Of People Struck By Pam To Be Homeless

Vanuatu Minister of Lands Ralph Regenvanu says more than 50 percent of those hit by super Cyclone Pam at the weekend are now homeless. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news