Three SOA protestors sentenced to six months - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Three SOA protestors sentenced to six months

By Roslyn Giles  - email | bio

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Chanting and holding crosses, The School of the Americas protestors walked from The Howard Johnson Inn to the federal courthouse Monday.  The judge found Father Luis Vitale, 77, of California, Nancy Gwin, 63, of New York and Kenneth Hayes, 60, of Texas guilty of trespassing onto Fort Benning last November.

"No one wants to go to jail, but I made a choice to do this; to have it be the next step in my witness to close the school," says Gwin.

Gwin and the thousands of SOA protestors want the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, formerly The School of the Americas, shut down.  They claim the school located at Fort Benning trains soldiers to kill.

"20,000 people come here every year to say this is wrong. Judgment should be on The School of the Americas and the judgment should be to close it," explained Father Vitale.

The increased jail time from 3 to 6 months didn't sit too well with protestors who have served less time. "I'm absolutely devastated that the judge should revert to 6 month sentences.  I could not understand the justification of what happened this morning," says Julienne Oldfield.

Protestors say jail time will not stop their movement; they plan to continue protesting for their cause again, November 2010.



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