Antiwar Protesters' Conviction for Sabotage at U.S. Nuclear Facility Overturned

Posted May 20, 2015

MP3 Interview with Ardeth Platte, peace activist and 79-year-old Catholic nun, conducted by Melinda Tuhus

nuke

Three peace activists who walked onto a U.S. nuclear weapons site in 2012 have been freed from prison after their convictions for sabotage were overturned by an appeals court. The group, known as "Transform Now Plowshares,” are part of the Plowshares movement, which has organized more than 100 nonviolent direct actions against war since 1980. The three activists released included Michael Walli, Greg Boerje-Obed and an 85-year-old nun, Sister Megan Rice, who broke into the Y-12 nuclear facility at Oak Ridge, Tennessee. They painted peace slogans and threw blood on the walls, revealing major security flaws at the facility, which processes uranium for hydrogen bombs. They were convicted of depredation of government property and sabotage. The men were originally sentenced to five years in prison, while Sister Meegan was sentenced to almost three years.

After the three had served two years in prison, a federal appeals court threw out the sabotage conviction on May 8, ruling that the prosecution failed to prove the three intended to "injure the national defense." All three were released almost immediately and are free pending their re-sentencing on the lesser charge. Defense lawyers say they've already served more time than that charge originally brought.

Between The Lines’ Melinda Tuhus spoke with Sister Ardeth Platte, a 79-year-old nun who has participated in several Plowshares actions and says she has "no idea" how much time she's spent in prison as a result, but estimates "eight or nine" years. Here, she describes the Plowshares philosophy that leads activists like her to participate in civil disobedience actions that risk arrest and prison time.

For more information on Transform Now Plowshares, visit transformnowplowshares.wordpress.com".

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