Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Hancock 17 Drone War Crimes Resisters' Verdict Is In

On Friday, February 7, Town of DeWitt Court Judge David Gideon found twelve of the Hancock Drone War Crimes Resisters guilty of disorderly conduct, but acquitted them of Trespassing. They had gone to Hancock Air National Guard Base near Syracuse, NY, on Oct. 25, 2012, to bring a Citizens War Crimes Indictment to the base and symbolically block the gates.  Their nonviolent action had called for an end to drone warfare.
Hundreds marched in a funeral procession in front of Hancock last April
 in commemoration of those killed by drone strikes.

 Saying, "At some point this has to stop," the judge gave the defendants the maximum sentence - 15 days in jail (starting immediately) and a $250 fine with a $125 court surcharge. He also imposed a two-year Order of Protection, prohibiting the defendants from going to the home, school, business or place of employment of Col. Earl A. Evans, Commander of Hancock's mission support group. Considering that the defendants had never met or knew of him before their arrest, it is clear the intent is to keep people away from the base.
Defendant Rae Kramer stated, "No person on the base was
 intimidated by us, that is clear. But the end result is to
 deprive me of my 1st Amendment Rights."
In their sentencing statements, the defendants spoke from their hearts and minds. Some reaffirmed their legal duties as citizens to stop war crimes:

Clare Grady said, "We went there to stop the war crimes. That was our intent." 

James Ricks hoped the judge would "sentence us to community
 service to investigate the war crimes they are committing at the base."
 Judy Bello said, "The people suffering are so
 significant...this requires a persistent response."
Mark Scibilia-Carver quoted the Pope saying "violence is a lie,"
 and "Faith and violence are incompatible."
Mark Colville challenged the Court, stating, "This
 court has been found guilty of stopping its ears
 to the laws that are in place to protect life.
 This court has been found guilty of stopping
it's ears to the voices of the victims of the drones."

The defendants were prepared for whatever sentence the judge imposed.
  In the words of Ed Kinane, "Any penalty this court
 can impose on me is trivial compared to the 
 sentences imposed on the drone victims."

Visit Upstate NY Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars to see inspiring videos of all of the sentencing statements.

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