Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Fr. Louie Vitale in Georgia jail; 6 month sentence for opposing SOA/WHINSEC

Dear friends,


Below is yesterday's press release from SOA Watch.  Fr. Louie Vitale,

Nancy Gwin and Ken Hayes were sentenced to 6 months, continuing the

prison witness of more than 200 activists over the past 20 years to

close the U.S. Army School of the Americas/WHINSEC.


Louie began his sentence right away, and was taken to the Muscogee

County Jail.  The address if you would like to send him a note of



Louis Vitale

Muscogee County Jail

700 10th Street

Columbus, Georgia



It's possible he might be transferred anytime to another county jail

or a federal facility.  If your letter to him is returned, you can

send it c/o The Nuclear Resister, PO Box 43383, Tucson, AZ 85733, and

we will forward it to him.



Felice and Jack


For Immediate Release: January 25th, 2010


Contact: Hendrik Voss, SOA Watch, 202-234-3440


Human Rights Advocates Given Maximum Federal Prison Sentences of Six

Months for Direct Action Opposing the School of the Americas



Judge Finds SOA Watch Activists Guilty for Carrying Protest against

the SOA/WHINSEC onto Fort Benning, Issues Arrest Warrant for Michael

Walli for Refusing to Appear for the Trial.


On Monday, January 25, 2010, U.S. Magistrate G. Mallon Faircloth

sentenced three human rights advocates to six months in federal

prison for carrying a protest against the School of the Americas onto

the Fort Benning military base in Georgia. This school, re-named the

Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, is a

controversial U.S. Army training school for Latin American soldiers.


Father Roy Bourgeois, a Roman Catholic priest and the founder of SOA

Watch, the organization that works to close the School of the

Americas said "Judge Faircloth has sentenced our sister and brothers

to 6 months in federal prison for speaking the truth about the

SOA/WHINSEC. We are saddened by the court's continued blindness and

hardness of heart, but we are stronger than ever in solidarity. These

sentences are symbolic of our nation's misdirection, but they are

also great steps forward for our resistance movement. It is truer

today, than ever before, that although they jail the resisters they

have not, and cannot, jail the resistance!"


The "SOA 4" are:


Nancy Gwin, long-time activist from Syracuse, New York - sentenced to

six months in prison

Father Louie Vitale, veteran and priest from Oakland, CA - sentenced

to six months in prison

Ken Hayes, SOA Watch Council member from Austin, TX - sentenced to

six months in prison


Michael Walli, a member of the Catholic Worker movement from

Washington, DC refused to appear for the trial in Georgia. Walli had

told the court during his November arraignment that he would not pay

any bail and that he would not voluntarily return for the trial. "I

walk out and it's goodbye" Walli told Judge Mallon Faircloth. Michael

Walli made good on his promise and on Monday, Judge Mallon Faircloth

issued a warrant for Michael Walli's arrest.


The "SOA 4" were among the tens of thousands who gathered on November

20-22, 2009 outside the gates of Fort Benning in Columbus, Georgia to

demand a change in U.S. policy in Latin America and the closure of

the SOA/WHINSEC. The group peacefully crossed onto Fort Benning while

thousands stood vigil at the gates of the base in memory of those

killed by graduates of the institution.


The SOA/WHINSEC, a military training facility for Latin American

security personnel, made headlines in 1996 when the Pentagon released

training manuals used at the school that advocated torture, extortion

and execution.




                   the Nuclear Resister

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