[Photo via Transform Now Ploughshares.]
U.S. District Judge Amul Thapar in Knoxville, Tenn. sentenced 84-year-old Sister Megan Rice, a Catholic nun, to 35 months in prison and three years probation. Rice is a sister in the Society of the Holy Child Jesus. She became a nun when she was 18 and served for 40 years as a missionary in western Africa teaching science. Thapar sentenced 58-year-old Greg Boertje-Obed, an Army veteran who lives at a Catholic Worker House in Minnesota, and Michael Walli, a 64-year-old two-tour Vietnam veteran who lives at the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker house in Washington DC, to five years in prison and three years probation as well.
The activists were found guilty on May 8 of sabotaging the plant and damaging federal property at the Y‑12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Officials said “there was never any danger of the protesters reaching materials that could be detonated or made into a dirty bomb…”
Protesters were engaged in a symbolic act to bring attention to America’s stockpile of nuclear weapons, which they view as both immoral and illegal …
Boertje-Obed, Sister Megan Rice, and Michael Walli are members of Transform Now Plowshares, “an effort by people of faith to transform weapons into real, life-giving alternatives, to build true peace.”
Sister Megan Rice told the judge: “Please have no leniency with me … To remain in prison for the rest of my life would be the greatest gift you could give me.”
Their attorneys asked the judge to sentence them to time they had already served, about nine months, because of their record of good works throughout their lives.
A sentence of time served is fair.
Please sign both of the petitions asking President Barack Obama to pardon the three activists.