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SOA trespassers en route to prison

In July, 36 activists were sentenced to terms of between 90 days and six months in prison for their symbolic trespassing at the US “school for assassins” the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Co-operation, (formerly the School of the Americas) in November 2001.

Some were also given fines on top, with one activist receiving a US$5,000 fine and a six-month prison sentence. Four of those sentenced elected to go to prison immediately, the rest were released on bail and will be expected to report directly to prison when ordered to do so.

The day after their sentencing a 23-year-old woman locked-on to the main gate at the Fort Benning site, where she remained for two hours before being boltcropped off. Her action was taken in protest at her comrades' sentencing and she carried a banner which read “Lock up SOA/WHISC, not peacemakers”. Around 20 other activists were present in support. She was charged with criminal damage, trespass and obstruction.

A journalist attempting to document the action was also arrested and his equipment seized by the military police as evidence.

To support those imprisoned, contact: School of the Americas Watch, PO Box 4566, Washington, DC 20017, USA (+1 202 234 3440; fax 636 4505; email info@soaw.org; http://www.soaw.org). Details of their next SOA event, p41.