LT WATADA UPDATE - Just Released at 4 pm
lt. ehren watada update
- double jeopardy -
meet friday oct 19 at 11 am - 3 pm
federal courthouse in tacoma
Please come show support for Lt. Ehren Watada at the Federal Courthouse in Tacoma between 11 am - 3 pm on Friday, Oct. 19.
Union Station Courthouse
1717 Pacific Ave
Tacoma, WA 98402
Sorry for the late notice, but the army and the court system aren't making organizing easy. Attorneys for both sides will appear before Judge Settle sometime tomorrow, but Ehren's attorney says this may not be a "hearing". The judge may continue to postpone the court martial, it's unlikely he will rule on "double jeopardy", and he may just set a future date for everyone to come back.
Please join us between 11 am - 3 pm and bring friends, signs and dress warmly.
This will be a peaceful vigil to show support for Ehren. Below is the press release we have sent out- folks from across the country are helping re-awaken the support Watada campaign. Vigils are happening in San Francisco and Philadelphia and Los Angeles, too!
Liz Rivera Goldstein
Teen Peace Project, Port Townsend
Supporters Prepare for Second Lt. Watada Court Martial
Lt. Watada's belief that the Iraq war is illegal and immoral has resonated with peace activists across the country and garnered national and international support. With the army once again planning to court martial Lt. Watada, peace activists are organizing to show support for Lt. Watada and other war resisters. The Family and Friends of Lt. Watada are planning events for October 19 and October 27.
Nationwide Iraq Moratorium protests scheduled for October 19th coincides with Federal Judge Benjamin Settle's review of the responses from the army and Watada defense attorneys regarding an emergency stay of Lt. Watada's court martial proceedings in the city of Tacoma, Washington. Activists intend to be present outside the Tacoma Federal Courthouse to show support for Lt. Watada. Supporters are also planning to turn out at national peace mobilization events across the country to be held on Oct. 27.
In a down to the wire decision, Federal Judge Benjamin Settle issued a last-minute stay temporarily blocking the second trial of Lt. Ehren Watada. On or after Friday, October 19th Judge Settle will decide Lt. Watada's constitutional claim that a second trial would amount to 'double jeopardy'. That decision will determine if a stay of court martial proceedings will be vacated or continue indefinitely. Lt. Watada seeks dismissal of all charges by the court and an honorable discharge from the Army. Under normal circumstances, Lt. Watada's term of service would have expired in December 2006. However, his discharge has been delayed because of the possible court martial proceedings.
Lieutenant Watada has consistently maintained that the Iraq war and occupation is illegal under both international law and the U.S. Constitution, and according to military law, he could be found guilty of participating in a crime against the peace and war crimes if he were to participate in the illegal intervention in Iraq. As Lt. Watada has stated: "I refuse to be silent any longer. I refuse to be a party to an illegal and immoral war against people who did nothing to deserve our aggression. My oath of office is to protect and defend America's laws and it's people. By refusing unlawful orders for an illegal war, I fulfill that oath today."
Lieutenant Watada was tried by a court martial this February for "missing movement" for failing to deploy and "conduct unbecoming an officer" for his statements opposing the war. After the prosecution had completed its case, the military judge, Lt. Col. John Head, intervened, declared a mistrial, and ordered Watada to be retried.
Watada's attorneys are appealing on the grounds that such a retrial will violate one of the most fundamental constitutional protections of the rule of law: the prohibition of "double jeopardy." The Fifth Amendment states that no person shall be "subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb."
Without a prohibition on double jeopardy, the government could simply halt a trial whenever matters don't go well for the prosecution, such as what happened in the initial Watada trial. This attempt for a second trial represents one more Bush-era encroachment of the "all-powerful state" on basic human rights and the rule of law.
• Seattle Area:
Gerry Condon, Project Safe Haven (206) 499-1220 firstname.lastname@example.org
Liz Rivera Goldstein, Teen Peace Project (360) 379-9094 email@example.com
• San Francisco:
Michael Wong, Watadasupport@hotmail.com
Grace Shimizu, Watadasupport@hotmail.com
Ying Lee, Watadasupport@hotmail.com
• New York, New York, Gloria Lum, firstname.lastname@example.org
•Rockland County, New York:
David Mitchell, Attorney & Vietnam War Draft Resister
(845) 596-0464. email@example.com
Nancy Tsou, Coordinator, Rockland Coalition for Peace and Justice 845-634-4082 LYTHRN@aol.com
• Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Eric Gjertson Payday Men's Network
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