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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

2/19/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Sister Megan Rice sentenced to 35 months for breaking into nuclear facility

She took a stand - and now must pay the price. Eighty-four-year-old Sister Megan Rice, an anti-nuclear activist nun who broke into a nuclear weapons facility in protest has been sentenced to 35 months in federal prison.

Sister Megan Rice was full of surprises - she asked for even more time behind bars. 'Please have no leniency with me,' Rice told the judge. To an audience of supporters who had traveled from across the U.S. to attend her trial, she declared 'To remain in prison for the rest of my life would be the greatest gift you could give me.'

Sister Megan Rice was full of surprises - she asked for even more time behind bars. "Please have no leniency with me," Rice told the judge. To an audience of supporters who had traveled from across the U.S. to attend her trial, she declared "To remain in prison for the rest of my life would be the greatest gift you could give me."

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

2/19/2014 (1 year ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Sister Megan Rice, anti-nuclear, activism, sentence


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Rice's "co-conspirators," 65-year-old Michael Walli and 58-year-old Gregory Boertje-Obed were sentenced to 62 months on charges of interfering with national security and damaging property at the Y-12 National Security Complex in July of 2012. That facility had the distinction of providing the enriched uranium for the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

The sister was full of surprises - she asked for even more time behind bars. "Please have no leniency with me," Rice told the judge. To an audience of supporters who had traveled from across the U.S. to attend her trial, she declared "To remain in prison for the rest of my life would be the greatest gift you could give me."

Remember the courage of this American-born saint -- by going here!

A longer sentence would allow her "to serve the other women in prison," Paul Magno, Rice's friend and an anti-nuclear activist, told reporters.

Rice said she learned in prison to see her fellow inmates, not as perpetrators but as "victims" of a system that gave them few options.

Walli says that like Rice, he spends long hours talking to inmates to "instill the idea that human life is sacred.

"They know that they are the human fallout and the victims of the profiteering by the elite and top leaders of the corporations that are contracted to make the nuclear weapons. It's (the money) denied to human services that should be the priority of any government," rice said.

Rice originally faced up to 30 years in prison. The judge said he considered Rice's age and her decades of good works and could not give her what could amount to a life sentence. He did ask that Rice use her "brilliant mind" to press for change in Washington, D.C., and not use it to break laws in Tennessee.

Magno saw it otherwise. "Very frustrating was the fact that the prosecution and the judge worked very hard to avoid paying attention to the (nuclear) weapons factor, the cause of their activism," he said. "And unless our legal institutions will face that, peace activists will continue to take issue with it and invite the government to investigate the war industry."

Activists put up banners, splashed blood and beat hammers against the walls of the storage facility in a biblical reference to Isaiah 2:4, "They shall beat swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks."

Attorneys argued that the trio acted in accordance with their religious beliefs and did not mean to cause any harm with their action. The demonstrators were organized by "Transform Now Plowshares," a collective of pacifist activists looking to draw attention to the nation's nuclear weapons arsenal.

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