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First Federal Conspiracy Trial of Anti-War Protesters Since Vietnam Begins Sept. 19
Contact: Tarik Abdelazim, 607-651-9109 (office) or 607-239-1219 (cell), firstname.lastname@example.org
NEW YORK, Sept. 15 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Four peace activists face up to eight years in federal prison and $275,000 fines each for their non-violent protest of the Iraq war if convicted of the federal charges filed against them in U.S. District Court. The trial, which begins Sept. 19 in Binghamton, N.Y., is the first time the Federal government has pressed conspiracy charges against civilian Iraq war protesters.
"Federal intervention in this case represents a blatant act of government intimidation and will have a chilling effect on expression of the first amendment rights of any citizen to protest or speak out against their government," said Bill Quigley, acclaimed public interest lawyer and law professor at Loyola University School of Law, who is acting as legal advisor to the defendants.
The St. Patrick's Four have been charged with "conspiracy to impede an officer of the United States by threat, intimidation and force" and other lesser charges for their actions at their local military recruiting station on St. Patrick's Day, March 17, 2003, two days before the US military invasion of Iraq began.
A previous trial in county court on charges of criminal mischief and trespassing resulted in a hung jury, with nine of twelve members favoring acquittal.
The four peace activists, all parents and members of the Ithaca Catholic Worker Movement, entered their local military recruiting station, knelt, said a prayer for peace and then carefully poured a small amount of their blood on recruiting center posters, walls and flag to symbolize the violence of war and the sanctity of life.
"International law demands that we try to avert our nation's aggressive criminal behavior. If we do not, we become guilty of the crimes of our nation," wrote the St. Patrick's four in an Ithaca Journal Op-ed article. "We long for the day when the killing of people upsets us as much as the sight of blood poured on the flag."
In the evenings, concomitant with the first week of trial, supporters of the St. Patrick's Four will host a "Citizen's Tribunal On Iraq" which will present the legal, historical, and moral defense for civil resistance to illegal war.
Speakers at the Citizen's Tribunal on Iraq include: Ray McGovern, 27-year CIA analyst and advisor to Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity; Ann Wright, former U.S. diplomat, who resigned after 30 years of service because she disagreed with administration policy on Iraq; Jon Bonifaz, constitutional lawyer and co-founder of AfterDowningStreet.org; Medea Benjamin, co- founder of Code Pink-Women for Peace and Global Exchange; Jimmy Massey, co-founder of Iraq Veterans Against the War; Camilo Mejia, Iraq war veteran who served nine months in confinement for refusing to return to Iraq after a two-week leave; former U.K. Environmental Minister, Michael Meacher, who resigned from the Blair administration in protest of the Iraq war, and many others.
For more information visit http://www.StPatricksFour.org