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Newspaper articles about the aftermath of the MARCH 20, 2003 ARRESTS
5 activists choose a week in jail for protesting
By Joseph A. Slobodzian
Inquirer Staff Writer
Five area antiwar activists were
sentenced to seven-day jail terms yesterday after electing not to pay $250
fines for blocking the entrance to the
Before imposing sentences, Rapoport listened courteously to Mullian and four others and let them make extended statements criticizing the war and
During her statement, Sylvia Metzler, a
family nurse-practitioner who works in
"This war is killing the conscience and soul of this country," she told Rapoport.
"I understand your feelings, and I don't dispute them. Obviously, they are heartfelt," Rapoport said.
But, the judge added, many people who
opposed the war did not block the courthouse and adjacent federal building
and prevent people from going to work or reporting for appointments with
federal agencies. Mullian, Metzger and their three
codefendants - James Hanlon-Smith, of Haverford; Louann Merkle, Plymouth Meeting; and Marlene Santoyo,
All five will report next Thursday to a prison yet to be designated to serve their seven days. Afterward, they will be on probation for 23 days.
Six others yesterday pleaded guilty and chose to pay the $250 fines.
The judge issued an arrest warrant for a 12th demonstrator who failed to appear.
As the five were sentenced, about 50 supporters who packed the courtroom stood silently in solidarity.
Outside the courthouse on
Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard W. Goldberg said about 30 of the 107 arrested on March 20 were awaiting court appearances. None has requested a trial before Rapoport - misdemeanor defendants are not entitled to jury trials - and Goldberg said no court dates had been set for the remaining demonstrators.
A third group of Iraqi war protesters began their week-long jail sentence
This group of seven brings the total to 21 people who opted for jail time in protest of the
April, Janeal Ravndal,
a 66-year-old Pendle Hill,
The protesters are from
Around 60 well-wishers held a peace rally in support of the seven people Tuesday morning outside the
"Whenever a government imprisons anyone for the sake of peace, they are attesting to its own illegitimacy," Smith said. "This is the strongest (form of) protest of this war. It not only protests it, it resists it ... actions speak a lot louder than words."
Gentile, who in April was unsure whether she would go to jail, said at the time, "It would be to make a statement that there are many, many things in this world worth preserving. I believe there’s always an alternative to conflict and this particular conflict in
At least five more protesters have a court hearing scheduled on Sept. 29, Smith said.
From Delaware County Daily Times Sept
When Martha Stewart announced her wishes to go to prison this week in order to get on with her personal and business life, there were a gaggle of microphones and tape recorders in her face. When Andrea Ferich went to jail to begin serving her term, there was no such media crush.
Martha will go to jail for five months after being convicted of lying about dumping stock to make a few more bucks. She has earned the sympathy of her many fans and even those in the business world who feel she was unfairly targeted because of her celebrity.
Andrea went to jail for seven days for sticking to her belief that the war in
Martha will do her five months in a facility that will more than likely resemble an austere hotel, often called a "country club" in the prison system. There will be some structure to the day, most likely, and perhaps a menial job or crafts to help pass the time.
Andrea did her time in solitary confinement, with no books, no writing paper and nothing to make the days and nights pass other than her own mind. She was told she could receive letters, but then she learned there was a shortage of mail screeners and a glut of federal prison mail, which meant she got it on the way out. Or, in reality, most letters were returned to senders.
Martha contends she is being targeted because of her high profile. She talks about the unfairness of being famous and then becoming the target of a government investigation. She claims any other citizen would not have faced the full wrath of federal prosecutors. It’s a case of too much attention.
Andrea only wanted to bring attention to a war she considers wrong. She only wanted to exercise her constitutional right to protest government policies. At 22, she wanted to make a stand in her young life and use her voice to speak out.
For both women, the question of justice being served remains unanswered. It’s obvious that Martha remains adamant that she has been wronged. It’s just as certain that the only lesson Andrea learned is the government doesn’t want to hear the voices of dissent and that a federal judge will go to any length to break the spirit of a young protester.
We are fighting a war in
Maybe we ought to do a better job of addressing those issues at home.
Lillian Willoughby chose a week in jail over a $250 fine for blocking a federal courthouse in a 2003 antiwar protest.
Inquirer Staff Writer
In 65 years of Quaker activism, Lillian Willoughby has been on the line in nonviolent demonstrations opposing war, race discrimination and nuclear proliferation even when they resulted in her arrest.
Now, just shy of 90, hard of hearing, and using a wheelchair, Willoughby is embarking on a new first: going to jail.
Pleading guilty to a misdemeanor count,
"You understand that in every one of these cases, the punishment
has been a $250 fine or seven days in prison?" U.S. Magistrate Judge
Arnold C. Rapoport asked
"Here I sit in this 21st century, and I think that it is time for
this madness to stop,"
"I've been arrested before but never spent time in jail,"
She insisted she was not worried by a prospect that frequently moves criminal defendants to tears: "This is the start of a great adventure."
Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard W. Goldberg, who has handled the
prosecutions of all 107 protesters, said he believed
"Except for that fact that she is 90, she is in reasonably good
health, and the
No date was set for the start of the sentences of
As with the earlier sentencings, the six were supported by a group of about 50 people who packed the courtroom. Many were members of the Brandywine Peace Community, a decades-old antiwar group based in Swarthmore.
Goldberg said yesterday's sentencing leaves about a dozen remaining of
the 107 arrested
Five who blocked a
Inquirer Staff Writer
Bundled in two sweaters and a jacket against the biting wind as she sat in her wheelchair, 89-year-old Quaker antiwar activist Lillian Willoughby went to jail.
"I never dreamed I'd get this kind of send-off," said
The gathering was both a peace vigil and a show of support for
"It will be worth it if it gets the message out and people start
working for peace,"
The five were among the last to plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge and elect a sentence of seven days in jail rather than a $250 fine.
But the presence of
"I have no worries whatsoever," said George Willoughby, who
has been arrested many times in nonviolent demonstrations and was honored
two years ago in
Also present at the start of yesterday's vigil, in full dress uniform,
was Marine Lance Cpl. Elliot Ruiz, recently returned home to
The group remained in front of the courthouse, on
There were brief speeches by some of the five, including Brown, who railed at the government for starting the war the day her grandchild was born, and Brix, who pointed out his pregnant wife.
"I go to jail for my unborn boy because I don't want him, 25 years from now, to have to do the same thing I'm doing," Brix said.
Then it was time for the brief walk one block north on Seventh to Arch
Street and the
With some difficulty,
Lillian Willoughby, an 89-year-old Quaker peace activist from Deptford, and four others arrested March 20, 2003, for blocking the entrance to the federal courthouse in Philadelphia in protest of the start of the Iraq war were freed from federal prison yesterday after serving seven-day sentences.
Robert M. Smith, a spokesman for the Brandywine Peace Community, which
sponsored the protest that resulted in the arrests of 107 antiwar
Willoughby, Michael Brix, 28, and Marion Brown, 58, of Philadelphia; and Cassandra Heino-Haw, 22, and her husband, Christopher Haw, 23, of Camden, reported for prison Oct. 20 after pleading guilty to blocking the entrance to a public building and opting to not pay the $250 fine.