Target: Judge Raymond Kethledge of the 6th Circuit Court
Goal: Don’t send nun back to prison for standing up against stockpiling nuclear weapons.
A nun from Ohio is facing more jail time after protesting the United States’ arsenal of nuclear weapons. Sister Megan Rice spent 35 months in jail for her protests, but she may have to return because of her activism.
Sister Megan and army veterans Michael Walli and Gregory Boertje-Obed exercised their First Amendment right to peacefully protest at the Tennessee Y-12 National Security Complex in 2012 and were subsequently arrested for their participation. The pacifists were protesting against the United States’ use of nuclear weapons and received unusually harsh punishments from the Justice Department for their crimes.
Sister Megan was recently released after a federal appeals court in Cincinnati threw out her conviction. Judge Raymond Kethledge of the 6th Circuit denounced the government’s harsh categorization of the three pacifists as “saboteurs.” He also disagreed that the three harmed national security by distracting the guards. Kethledge wrote that, “responding to intrusions is what guards do, and thus not a ‘diversion’ at all,” and that, “to say that these guards were diverted from their duties is like saying a pilot is diverted from his duties when he flies a plane.”
Later this summer, Rice, Walli, and Boertje-Obed will be forced to return to Tennessee for a re-sentencing hearing, where their lawyers will argue that they have spent more than enough time in jail already and to drop some of the remaining charges. The government prosecutors, however, could argue for even more jail time and could even appeal the court’s decision to toss out the sabotage charge.
At 85 years old, Sister Megan could very well die behind bars. While she is bravely standing up against nuclear weapons and is aware of this reality, we should not let her be sent back to jail for her peaceful protests. Please sign the petition below and urge the court not to send her back to jail.
Honorable Judge Raymond Kethledge,
I am writing to you to urge you and your fellow judges to not send 85-year-old nun Megan Rice and army veterans Michael Walli and Gregory Boertje-Obed back to jail.
As you are aware, Rice, Walli and Boertje-Obed were harshly punished by the Justice Department for protesting nuclear weapons by breaking into the Y-12 National Security Complex in Tennessee. They were unfairly labeled as “saboteurs” and sentenced to do time in jail. Now, they face the possibility of going back to jail during an upcoming re-sentencing trial that you and other judges will rule on.
There is the possibility that Sister Megan could die in jail. Her peaceful protests were not harmful and she has already done more than enough jail time. Please urge your fellow judges not to send Rice, Walli and Boertje-Obed back to jail.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: National Nuclear Security Administration