‘Nuclear nun’ handed jail term

In this May 6, 2013 photo, anti-nuclear weapons activists, from left, Michael Walli, Sister Megan Rice and Greg Boertje-Obed arrive for their trial in Knoxville, Tennessee.   | Photo Credit: Michael Patrick

An 84-year-old U.S. nun was sentenced to three years jail for entering, in July 2012, one of the most secure nuclear weapons facilities in the world along with two colleagues, and splashing the building with human blood, and “daubing it with Biblical references” to peace and justice.

Sister Megan Rice was handed the jail term along with 62-month sentences given to two co-defendants in the case, Greg Boertje-Obed (58) and Michael Walli (64), all on charges of interfering with national security and damaging property at the Y-12 National Security Complex, which once supplied enriched uranium for the Hiroshima bomb.

Delivering the sentence Judge Amul Thapar said that Sister Rice “does not have the extensive criminal records the others have. Her crimes are minimal in comparison to the others”.

The nun and the two other Catholic anti-nuclear protestors admitted to hammering on exterior walls of the facility, spray-painting peace slogans and hanging banners, including messages such as “The fruit of justice is peace”.

When they were apprehended two hours after breaking into the restricted area they offered the guards food and began singing and reportedly offered to share a Bible, candles and white roses with the guards.

Last May the trio were convicted by a federal jury of damaging national defence premises under the Sabotage Act, a charge that carries a prison sentence of up to 20 years, and at a hearing in January 2014 they were ordered to pay $53,000 for what the government estimated was damage done to the facility.

Although their actions led to sharp criticism from the Department of Energy’s Inspector-General of security failures that made it possible for them to breach the bunker’s defences and the security contractor for the site was later fired, prosecutors declined petitions that argued for leniency on the grounds that the activists had exposed the facility’s weaknesses.

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2020 4:49:17 AM |

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