Yesterday, Stewart County Superior Court Judge James Sizemore dismissed all charges against human rights activists Anton Flores, Jason MsGaughey, Kevin Caron, Maureen Fitzsimmons and Rebecca Kanner.
The five had been arrested on Saturday, November 22, 2014, during the November Vigil weekend in Georgia, as they crossed the line onto Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) property to call for the closure of Stewart Detention Center. Owned and operated by the Corrections Corportation of America (CCA), Stewart is one of the largest private, for-profit immigrant detention facility in the US, warehousing approximately 1,800 men.
Through their peaceful action, the Stewart 5 were prepared to speak about the inhumane conditions that exist there, while at the same time raising public awareness about the racist immigration policies that allow places like Stewart to exist. To speak truth to power and to use the courtroom to put Stewart Detention Center on trial, our friends traveled long distances, from Detroit and Ann Arbor, Michigan; Washington, DC; Atlanta and LaGrange, Georgia.
Our comrades had been charged for criminal trespass, which carries a maximum sentence of up to 12 months in federal prison and a fine of up to $1,000. The dismissal of their case is truly a victory for the movement to Shut Down Stewart and SOA Watch alike, not to mention a victory for freedom of speech rights.In speaking truth to power, we continue a tradition of forging a culture of peace and justice, and applaud the Stewart 5 for their love-filled action.
Now, let’s continue to push back against an unjust system of domination at home and abroad by joining forces in the halls of Congress for SOA Watch’s upcoming Spring Days of Action, now only 2 weeks away! SOA Watch sees the root causes of migration as directly linked to the training of military and police forces at the SOA/WHINSEC, and oppressive US foreign policy in Latin America. Furthermore, SOA Watch considers deportation quotas, mandatory detention, for-profit detention centers, the militarization of the border, and the “War on Drugs” as all parts of the same racist system of violence. Making the connections between the militarization of our communities here in the US and in Latin America, specifically through the failed “War on Drugs”, is more important than ever. Join us!