Support Nukewatch activists convicted of federal trespass
Twelve opponents to the manufacture of nuclear weapons were found guilty on May 11, 2011, following a 3-day trial in Knoxville, Tenn. Included in the group were: Bonnie Urfer of the Nukewatch organization, Bradford Lyttle of Chicago and a veteran of the celebrated 1961 Freedom Rides, and an assortment of nuns, priests and long-time nuclear activists. Youngest in the group was 46 with the majority over 70.
The presiding judge, Bruce Guyton, prohibited the defendants from relying on justification defenses relating to peaceful trespass such as could be used by firefighters who trespass to prevent bodily harm. He said, “Whether the production of nuclear weapons at the Y-12 National Security Complex violates international law is irrelevant to the instant prosecution,” and “The fact that the Defendants felt compelled to enter by their desire to comply with international law or their desire to prevent future death and destruction from the use of nuclear weapons does not constitute a legal defense to the charge . . . and is not relevant at trial.”
The reference was to the Geneva Conventions, Hague Conventions and the Nuremberg and UN Charters, all of which are part of U.S. law and forbid the planning of commission of massacres. The Y 12 facility processes uranium for new H-bombs which are being built to replace current warheads on Trident submarine missiles.
TO SUPPORT: Write U.S. Judge Bruce Guyton, 800 Market St., Knoxville, TN, 37902 and demand the release or at most “time served” for the defendants.
www.orepa.org Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance
For info on Nukewatch issues: www.nukewatchinfo.org
BACKGROUND: Thirteen protesters who crossed the line at the Y12 Nuclear Weapons Complex in Oak Ridge, TN on July 5, 2010 in an act of nonviolent civil resistance will finally have their day in federal court in Knoxville, TN on May 9, 2011.
Judge Bruce Guyton issued an order on April 29 denying the defense motion to dismiss all charges and granting the government’s motion to impose severe limits on the testimony to be permitted at trial.
Most of the defendants will stay at the Riverside Nonviolent Community as guests of Lissa McLeod and Jake Weinstein. They will be joined there by a dozen or so additional supporters who are traveling from out of town.
A Celebration of Hope-Filled Resistance will be held on the eve of the trial beginning at 7:15pm at Church of the Savior (UCC) on Weisgarber Road in Knoxville, with music by the Carawans and a chance to hear from defendants. Everyone is welcome at the Celebration.
The defendants will meet in the parking lot of First Presbyerian Church in downtown Knoxville at 7:30am
Monday to process to court for the opening of the trial.
The trial is expected to last several days. Judge Guyton’s usual courtroom cannot easily accommodate thirteen defendants, their lawyers, the prosecution and the jury. We expect the trial will take place in another courtroom in the federal courthouse, but are not sure how many spectators will be permitted in the courtroom.
Several other events will take place during court recesses as we use the trial as one more opportunity to educate the public about weapons production at Y12.
The defendants are: Beth Rosdatter, Bill Bichsel, David Corcoran, Michael Walli, Carol Gilbert, Ardeth Platte, Jackie Hudson, Mary Dennis Lentsch, Brad Lyttle, Steve Baggarly, Dennis DuVall, Bonnie Urfer and Jean Gump