View Full Version : Three U.S. nuns sentenced to prison for anti-war protest

07-26-03, 05:26 AM
Denver In October, three nuns vandalized a nuclear missile silo to protest the use of weapons of war.

For that act, all three will spend the next several years behind bars.

A federal judge on Friday sentenced Jackie Hudson to 261/27 years, Ardeth Platte to almost 361/27 years and Carol Gilbert to two years and nine months.

All three were given three years of supervised probation.

U.S. District Judge Robert Blackburn departed from sentencing guidelines Friday in punishing the women.

While the maximum term is 30 years, the guidelines call for a six-year minimum term.

"We're satisfied," prosecutor Robert Brown said.

Ms. Hudson, 68, Ms. Gilbert, 55, and Ms. Platte, 66, were convicted in April of obstructing the nation's defense and damaging government property after cutting a fence and walking onto a Minuteman III silo site, swinging hammers and using their blood to paint a cross on the structure.

Officials said the women caused at least $1,000 (U.S.) in damage.

Ms. Hudson's lawyer, Walter Gerash, said he wasn't happy the women were going to prison but was surprised the term wasn't longer.

The nuns had until Aug. 25 to report to prison but chose to go immediately.

During the hearing, Mr. Brown enumerated the arrests of the Roman Catholic nuns at earlier anti-war protests: Ms. Platte, at least 10 times, Ms. Hudson five times and Ms. Gilbert, at least 13 times.

"These ladies could not be deterred for the last 20 years. They will be deterred for the time the court sentences them," Mr. Brown said.

The case drew international attention to the three Dominican Sisters.

An adjoining courtroom was packed with supporters listening to the proceedings on a speaker.

The three women, dressed in black, took notes during the hearing and occasionally swung their seats around to smile at well-wishers in the audience.

They said nothing during the hearing.

Earlier, they defiantly told a crowd of 150 supporters outside the courthouse they were not afraid of prison.

"The hope of the world rests on each of our shoulders," Ms. Hudson said. "We are doing our part. What about you?"

The three nuns were arrested Oct. 6 at the silo on Colorado's northeastern plains.

Wearing white chemical weapons suits, they argued it was a symbolic disarmament that did not jeopardize national security.

The nuns said they were compelled to act as war with Iraq moved closer and because the United States has never promised not to use nuclear weapons.

Many of the nuns' supporters waved anti-war banners before the sentencing, including Irina Zadov, 19, of Boulder.

"To see people of their age sacrificing as much as they have is so inspirational," she said.