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Peace Activists Go To Trial in DC for "Ghosts of War" Action in Senate Gallery
Peace Activists Go To Trial in DC for "Ghosts of War" Action in Senate Gallery By Joy First
Ten activists will be tried at the Superior Court of the District of Columbia in Washington, DC beginning September 29, 2008. They are being charged with “Unlawful Conduct” and face a possible sentence of up to six months in jail if they are found guilty.
On March 12, 2008, the defendants went to the Senate gallery, put a piece of cloth over their heads to dramatize the suffering and death resulting from the war and occupation of Iraq, and called on the Senators to end the funding for the war. “The right to peacefully and nonviolently petition the government is a cornerstone of democracy,” said Eve Tetaz, a 77-year-old activist who is a former teacher and was arrested during the action. All of the activists participating have had training in nonviolent civil resistance, and have participated in actions calling for an end to the war since 2003. This action was organized by the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance.
Members of the group were immediately arrested. Four of them were held in a DC jail for more than 30 hours. For the last eleven hours they were in a holding cell with shackles around their ankles, and had no access to food or water, and very limited access to a bathroom. All of the activists pled “not guilty” during an arraignment on March 13 and they were all released. Joy First, a defendant in the trial, explains, “We are peaceful, committed citizens who will continue to call for an end to the war and occupation of Iraq that is causing such horrifying human suffering and the deaths of so many innocent children, women, and men. We will not be stopped until the occupation ends and those responsible are brought to justice.”
During the jury trial, the activists will be defending themselves with Ann Wilcox and Jack Barringer, Washington, DC attorneys, advising and assisting. Each defendant will take a role in the trial.