PRESS RELEASE: Missouri judge convicts peace activists for protesting drone warfare

For immediate release          

Contact: Buddy Bell  312 647 9345
Voices for Creative Nonviolence  773 619 2418

Jefferson City, MO—On December 10, a federal magistrate found Georgia Walker, of  Kansas  City, MO and Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace Kathy Kelly guilty of criminal trespass to a military installation  as a result of their June 1 effort to deliver a loaf of bread and a citizens’ indictment of drone warfare to authorities at Whiteman AFB.  Judge Matt Whitworth sentenced Kelly to three months in prison and Walker to one year of supervised probation.

In testimony, Kelly, who recently returned from Afghanistan, recounted her conversation with an Afghan mother whose son, a recent police academy graduate, was killed by a drone as he sat with colleagues in a garden. “I’m educated and humbled by experiences talking with people who’ve been trapped and impoverished by U.S. warfare,” said Kelly. “The U.S. prison system also traps and impoverishes people. In coming months, I’ll surely learn more about who goes to prison and why.”

During sentencing, prosecution attorneys asked that Walker be sentenced to five years of probation and banned from going within 500 feet of any military base. Judge Whitworth imposed a sentence of one year probation with a condition that Walker refrain from approaching any military base for one year. Walker coordinates an organization that provides re-entry services to newly released prisoners throughout Missouri. Noting that the condition to stay away from military bases will affect her ability to travel in the region, Walker expressed concern that this condition will limit her work among former prisoners.

Kelly’s work as a co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence places her alongside people in a working class neighborhood of Kabul. She said that the day’s proceedings offered a valuable opportunity to shed light on experiences of Afghan families whose grievances are seldom heard. At the conclusion of the sentencing, Kelly said that every branch of U.S. government, including the judicial branch, shares responsibility for suffering caused when drones target and kill civilians.

One response to “PRESS RELEASE: Missouri judge convicts peace activists for protesting drone warfare

  1. Diana M. de Marco in italy

    My family and I are appalled. But, sadly, we seem to be shocked almost every day now. About racism, the police, torture, rendition, on and on, I am reminded of the words of Chief Justice Robert Jackson, chief prosecutor for the United States at the Nuremberg Tribunals, 1946.

    “We must never forget, history will judge us. . . . If certain acts in violation of treaties are crimes, they are crimes whether the United States does them or whether Germany does them, and we are not prepared to lay down a rule of criminal conduct against others we would not be willing to have invoked against us. . . . The record on which we judge these defendants today is the record on which history will judge us tomorrow. To pass these defendants a poisoned chalice is to put it to our lips as well.”