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Anti-war nuns get prison

DENVER, Colorado (AP) -- In October, three nuns vandalized a nuclear missile silo to protest the use of weapons of war. For that act, all three will spend the next several years behind bars.
A federal judge on Friday sentenced Jackie Hudson to 2 1/2 years, Ardeth Platte to almost 3 1/2 years and Carol Gilbert to two years and nine months. All three were given three years of supervised probation.

U.S. District Judge Robert Blackburn departed from sentencing guidelines Friday in punishing the women. While the maximum term is 30 years, the guidelines call for a six-year minimum term.

"We're satisfied," prosecutor Robert Brown said.

Hudson, 68, Gilbert, 55, and Platte, 66, were convicted in April of obstructing the nation's defense and damaging government property after cutting a fence and walking onto a Minuteman III silo site, swinging hammers and using their blood to paint a cross on the structure.

Officials said the women caused at least $1,000 in damage.

Hudson's lawyer, Walter Gerash, said he wasn't happy the women were going to prison but was surprised the term wasn't longer. The nuns had until August 25 to report to prison but chose to go immediately.

During the hearing, Brown enumerated the arrests of the Roman Catholic nuns at earlier anti-war protests: Platte, at least 10 times, Hudson five times and Gilbert, at least 13 times.

"These ladies could not be deterred for the last 20 years. They will be deterred for the time the court sentences them," Brown said.

The case drew international attention to the three Dominican Sisters. An adjoining courtroom was packed with supporters listening to the proceedings on a speaker. The three women, dressed in black, took notes during the hearing and occasionally swung their seats around to smile at well-wishers in the audience.

They said nothing during the hearing. Earlier, they defiantly told a crowd of 150 supporters outside the courthouse they were not afraid of prison.

"The hope of the world rests on each of our shoulders," Hudson said. "We are doing our part. What about you?"

The three nuns were arrested October 6 at the silo on Colorado's northeastern plains. Wearing white chemical weapons suits, they argued it was a symbolic disarmament that did not jeopardize national security.

The nuns said they were compelled to act as war with Iraq moved closer and because the United States has never promised not to use nuclear weapons.

Many of the nuns' supporters waved anti-war banners before the sentencing, including Irina Zadov, 19, of Boulder. "To see people of their age sacrificing as much as they have is so inspirational," she said.


homepage: homepage: http://www.cnn.com/2003/LAW/07/26/nuns.missile.silo.ap/

Inspiring 26.Jul.2003 08:09


I've been following this story - and it's sad yet inspiring at the same time.

Indeed 26.Jul.2003 13:41


Ploughshares has never before gotten this much mainstream publicity. Very inspiring.

Pathetic 04.Aug.2003 14:55

Saginaw Savage

These women left the City of Saginaw in worse shape than they found it. As street gangs moved in, they were more interested in South Africa, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and a SAC base 100 miles away. Now there are one or two drive-by shootings each week. How does one expect such over-educated useful idiots to save the world when they could not bring peace to their own back yard.
If they had their way, the Soviet Union would not only still be around, the USSR would be in charge and U.S. boys would be conscripted for border guard duty on the Chinese border or worse. I irony here is that they incouraged draft resistance during the Vietnam era.
It's a pity these nuns couldn't work off their misguided zeal by clearing debris from the WTC or the Pentagon 9/11 attacks. As mentioned above, they lead the charge here to divest and boycott S.Africa over apartheid, yet they clearly oppose the liberation of Afghanistan where women are treated horribly by the Taliban. Women who seek to teach had to flee for their lives to Pakistan. I say, give the nuns back their little hammers and put them to work on the rock pile. Better yet, have these self-described weapons inspectors carry out the task while wearing burquas.