Berrigan and Crane sentenced to one year
Jonah House, 1301 Moreland Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21216
Ph: 410-233-6238 or email@example.com
PRESS RELEASE--IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 2, 2001
CONTACT: Max Obuszewski 410-323-7200 or 410-377-7987 or
Jonah House 410-233-6238 or firstname.lastname@example.org
DEPLETED URANIUM ACTIVISTS SENTENCED TO YEAR IN PRISON
WHO: On Dec. 19, 1999, Philip Berrigan and Susan Crane of Baltimore's
Jonah House, the Rev. Stephen Kelly, SJ, and Elizabeth Walz, a Catholic Worker
from Philadelphia, calling themselves the Plowshares Vs. Depleted
Uranium, disarmed two A-10 Warthog [Fairchild Thunderbolt II] aircraft
at Warfield Air National Guard Base in Middle River, Maryland. The
activists hammered on the A-10s, because the plane has a Gatling gun
which fires 3,900 rounds of depleted uranium per minute and was used
against Iraq and Yugoslavia.
After being denied the opportunity to present a defense at their trial,
the Plowshares were convicted by a jury in Towson, Maryland and
sentenced to prison by Baltimore County Circuit Court Judge James T.
Smith, Jr. While Rev. Kelly remains in solitary confinement in
Hagerstown, Maryland, the other three Plowshares were released from
prison: Elizabeth Walz on Dec. 6, 2000; Susan Crane on Jan. 3, 2001; and
Philip Berrigan on Jan. 12, 2001.
WHAT: Berrigan, Crane and Rev. Kelly were members of the Prince of Peace
Plowshares, which disarmed an Aegis destroyer at the Bath [Maine] Iron
Works on February 12, 1997. They were sentenced to federal prison for
this disarmament and placed on probation upon release. While on federal
probation, the three were arrested with Walz at the National Guard base
in Middle River.
Accused of violating probation, Crane, first, and then Berrigan,
appeared before Judge Gene Carter in federal court in Portland, Maine.
Judge Carter sentenced the Plowshares activists to one year in prison
for violating probation.
WHEN: Friday, February 2, 2001-- Susan Crane's probation violation
hearing at 11 AM
Philip Berrigan's probation violation hearing at 1:30 PM
WHERE: federal courthouse in Portland, Maine
WHY: The religious activists were moved to resistance because of their
grave concern that the nuclear threat still exists. Additionally, they became
aware of the deadly environmental damage caused by the use of depleted
uranium in Iraq and Yugoslavia. So they disarmed an Aegis destroyer,
suffered the consequences, and later hammered on A-10s, while on federal
probation. Judge Carter, instead of making a statement against nuclear
warmaking, chose to send the peace activists back to prison.
Solidarity demonstrations took place in Portland, Maine, when supporters
marched from the Bath Iron Works to the federal courthouse, and outside
the Warfield Air National Guard Base in Middle River, where protesters
held signs condemning depleted uranium. While the two resisters were
jailed, the resistance will continue.
---- The revocation hearings were an opportunity to respond to charges of committing a crime, associating with felons and not paying restitution. After being found guilty, each defendant was turned over to U.S. marshals. Susan and Phil, in addressing the court, tried to make the point that the real criminal activity occurs when the government engages in warmaking. They highlighted, for example, the invidious use of depleted uranium. Sister Ardeth Platte, who observed the hearings, reported that Susan Crane asked the judge how he could justify his position and not uphold the Constitution and the treaties under international law. His response, that he did not accept the Plowshares' perspectives, brought a collective gasp from the courtroom supporters. ----- Court hearing and sentencing for Phil and Susan
Susan Crane at 11:00 A.M. and Philip Berrigan at 1:30 P.M. appeared before Judge Gene Carter at revocation hearings in Portland, ME on Feb. 2nd to respond to charges of committing a crime, associating with felons, and not paying restitution. They were each sentenced to 12 months in prison and bound over immediately to the U.S. marshals. The courtroom was filled to capacity with families, friends, community members and peacemakers from the area and surrounding states. Susan and Phil spoke eloquently in turn speaking the facts that the real crime is committed by our government by warmaking, killing, poisoning. They defined and highlighted U238 or depleted uranium, explaining its use in Iraq, Bosnia, Kosovo, and testing in Vieques. They gave descriptions of the effects on people and the Earth. They outlined the massive numbers of rounds dropped on each nation and the deaths of the people including NATO and US military personnel. Phil and Susan quoted the data recorded and substantiated by Dr. Rosalie Bertell that 1.3 billion people have been killed, sickened or maimed by nuclearism over the past 55 years. They elaborated on the U.S. governments role in all of it. Susan asked the judge at one point how he could justify his position and not uphold the Constitution and the treaties under International Law. The judge responded by saying that he did not accept them. People in the courtroom gasped in disbelief of what he had acknowledged. Phil spoke strongly and firmly that he hated to think that anyone on the bench, in the courtroom would be help captive to any law that protected these horrific weapons as history reveals that law upheld racism, destruction of Native Americans, etc. He hoped that they would shrink from any view of putting these protective laws before humanity. The prosecutor responded coldly with the prepared procedures for revocation and an adherence to the sentencing within the guidelines. The judge reiterated the usual verbal kudos of the two defendants regarding their own living of their beliefs, religious convictions, conscience and in the same breath gave the sentences. And all of us pray, "Oh, for the moral courage of the people in the criminal justice system to turn from these crimes against humanity and war crimes to nonviolence as the only way to continue to live."
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