[Ppnews] Judge denies bail for 2 who protest torture
Political Prisoner News
ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Fri Dec 7 11:42:07 EST 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 6, 2007
Contact in Tucson: Jack or Felice Cohen-Joppa, 520-323-8697
TUCSON JUDGE DENIES BAIL; DECLARES TWO WHO PROTEST TORTURE "...A
DANGER TO THE COMMUNITY"
At a detention hearing today in federal court in Tucson, Betsy Lamb,
a retired Catholic lay leader, and Franciscan Fr. Jerry Zawada were
jailed without bail until their trial. Lamb, Zawada and Mary Burton
Riseley were arrested on November 18 at Fort Huachuca, home of the
U.S. Army Intelligence Center and School, during a protest of
military use of torture against war detainees.
Magistrate Hector Estrada was concerned by evidence that both Lamb
and Zawada had failed to heed an order of the court in cases pending
in other jurisdictions.
Betsy Lamb is awaiting trial for a September anti-war protest outside
the office of Rep. Greg Walden, in Bend, Oregon. As a standard
condition of release on her own recognizance, Lamb had promised not
to commit any other crime while awaiting trial. Fr. Zawada has an
outstanding bench warrant for failure to appear for a court date in
Washington, D.C., where he has been arrested several times in recent
years for anti-war protest.
Army Prosecutor Capt. Evan Seamone came to court with three witnesses
in dress uniform, several poster-sized photo enlargements and a
videotape of the arrests. But the magistrate said he already knew the
defendants' intent, and would only listen to Seamone's summation.
Seamone described the defendants' peaceful passage through police
barricades at the gate of Fort Huachuca as a violent act because it
had to be met by police, who were forced to go face to face with the
unarmed protesters and lift them from a kneeling position. In the
eyes of the law and legal precedent, Seamone argued that such violent
trespass warranted pretrial detention for the safety of the
community. Were the court to release Zawada and Lamb, "their blatant
defiance is likely to happen again" Seamone warned, gravely
predicting that "all kinds of chaos" would ensue at the gate to Fort Huachuca.
Attorney Rachel Wilson, representing the defendants, objected
repeatedly without success to Seamone's arguments. Wilson told the
court that Ms. Lamb had "learned her lesson" and was willing to post
bond along with her promise to return to court for trial.
Estrada was unmoved. He told the defendants he didn't trust them and
that he believed they were right where they wanted to be--before him
in chains. Protest is brinksmanship, and the point is to not be
arrested; better to organize a conference or seminar, he chided.
Estrada then ordered that Lamb and Zawada be kept in custody until
their February 4 trial because they "remain a flight risk, and are a
danger to the community." Not even Capt. Seamone had suggested that
the defendants were a "flight risk."
Responding to the court's conclusion, Felice Cohen-Joppa said of her
friends, "Betsy Lamb and Jerry Zawada are not a danger to the
community--they, along with Mary Burton Riseley, are the conscience
of the community. They are shining a light on the involvement of
military intelligence in torture around the world. Their nonviolent
acts are no more a danger to the community than were the nonviolent
acts of Cesar Chavez and Martin Luther King, Jr."
Lamb and Zawada are not the only people now in prison for peaceful
protest of U.S. torture practices. On October 17, Magistrate Estrada
sent Frs. Steve Kelly and Louie Vitale to prison for five months in
prison for a similar protest at Fort Huachuca in November, 2006. They
are scheduled to be released in mid-March.
For more information, visit tortureontrial.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 4, 2007
Contact in Tucson: Jack or Felice Cohen-Joppa, 520-323-8697
TWO JAILED PENDING BAIL HEARING AT FT. HUACHUCA TORTURE PROTEST
A Tucson magistrate has jailed an Oregon peace activist and a
Franciscan priest from Nevada following their arrest at Fort Huachuca
on November 18 for acting against the torture of military detainees.
This afternoon at their arraignment in federal court, U.S. Magistrate
Judge Jacqueline Marshall ruled that because Frances Elizabeth
"Betsy" Lamb and Fr. Jerry Zawada had each failed to heed court
orders in pending cases in other jurisdictions, they should each be
held in custody pending trial. Magistrate Marshall set a detention
hearing for both defendants before Magistrate Hector Estrada at 10:30
a.m. on Thursday, December 6, when bail will likely be set.
Lamb and Zawada, together with a third defendant, Mary Burton Riseley
of Cliff, New Mexico, entered pleas of not guilty to charges of
trespass, conspiracy, and failure to obey an officer. Their November
arrest came while 300 people demonstrated outside Fort Huachuca,
Arizona, home of the U.S. Army Intelligence Center and School where
all Army interrogators are trained. (Fr. Louie Vitale and Fr. Steve
Kelly were arrested during a similar November, 2006 protest at Fort
Huachuca, and are currently serving five months in prison for
trespass and failure to obey.)
Military prosecutor Capt. Evan Seamone informed the court that at the
time of the Fort Huachuca arrests, Betsy Lamb was awaiting trial for
a September anti-war protest outside the office of Rep. Greg Walden,
in Bend, Oregon. As a standard condition of release on her own
recognizance, Lamb had agreed not to commit any other crime while
Seamone also told the court that among Fr. Zawada's decades' long
record of resistance to nuclear weapons and war was an outstanding
warrant for failure to appear in court for an anti-war arrest in
Seamone repeatedly declared that these records of protest and
defiance created a "danger to the community" that Lamb and Zawada
would again return to Fort Huachuca. Ignoring the fact that police
had barricaded the main gate on November 18 and that a second, nearby
gate remained open for the duration of the protest, Seamone said such
actions would keep families out of their homes, and ailing veterans
from medical care. Significantly, Seamone said that more protest
threatened to "disable the ability to train" interrogators at Fort Huachuca.
These incidents provided sufficient reason for Magistrate Marshall to
grant Seamone's motion for pretrial detention of defendants Lamb and
Zawada. Because Ms. Riseley's record of nonviolent protest did not
include any outstanding obligations, she remains free on her own recognizance.
Supporter Jack Cohen-Joppa said, "Today confirms that there is indeed
a price to be paid to preserve whatever virtue this country has in
the world. People with less of a criminal record than Jerry and Betsy
have been held in isolation at Guantanamo under the control of
military intelligence for almost six years now. The three defendants
were called by their conscience to speak out against torture.
Although they do not desire to spend time in prison, they feel that
it is a necessary risk to try to stop brutal and inhumane treatment
of detainees in Guantanamo, Iraq and Afghanistan."
Lamb and Zawada were represented in court by Dan Gregor. Meredith
Little represented Mary Burton Riseley.
Fr. Jerry Zawada's statement follows. For more information, visit
Fr. Jerry Zawada prepared the following statement today, but was not
permitted to read it in court.
"Judge Marshall, Prosecutor Evan Seamone, all of this courtroom and beyond:
"I stand in awe and gratitude to so many who showed me how to live
and act in these days --courageous people, some who have already
moved on to the other side of this life, who continue to bring to
this earth a powerful message of what is needed to be done at this
ominous juncture in human history--a thorough commitment to
nonviolence, to a world where people of all backgrounds, nations and
ways of life are respected and cherished, people who say NO,
absolutely NO, to all forms of torture, all forms of dehumanizing
practices, NO to warfare of any kind, certainly to one which is
unprovoked and based on falsehood, NO to sanctions which bring about
the deaths of thousands of innocents... and YES to the reality that
we are to live as one family on this planet.
"It is on account of the example of these courageous people that I
have acted with others to draw attention to what is happening at Ft.
Huachuca and its participation in bringing about a regime that
condones unmitigated abuse of truth and opens the door to physical
and psychological torture and warfare.
"For this reason, at this time, I refuse to promise that I would
refrain from acting (in a nonviolent manner) to take whatever risks
needed to stop the warfare and abuse carried on in our name in Iraq
and other places of the Middle East and, if the financial means were
provided, I would go anywhere to join other people of conscience to
change the downward course our nation and its leaders have taken.
"As a follower of Francis and Clare of Assisi, I long to spread
peace, justice and care for all creatures in our earth-home. At the
sacred season of ADVENT, it is HOPE that looms large in many a heart
-- a good time to spend in or out of prison, if the message of this
season becomes reality for a world sickened by violence. Thank you."
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
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