Three anti-nuclear activists were ordered to be released

Three anti-nuclear activists were ordered to be released

The immediate release of three anti-nuclear activists has been ordered by a US federal appeals court. An elderly Catholic nun is one of the group’s members.

The immediate release of three anti-nuclear activists has been ordered by a US federal appeals court. An elderly Catholic nun is one of the group’s members.

In 2012 Sister Megan Rice, 85, Michael Walli, 66, and Greg Boertje-Obed, 59, broke into a Tennessee nuclear facility. Mrs Rice was jailed for almost three years and the other two were sentenced to more than 5 years for entering the Oak Ridge facility that stores uranium.

Sister Megan Rice (middle) and fellow activists Greg Boertje-Obed (left) and Michael Walli

Sister Megan Rice (middle) and fellow activists Greg Boertje-Obed (left) and Michael Walli

 

But last week the convictions against the trio were overturned. The group’s lawyer Bill Quigley, who was trying to get the elderly activists out of prison as soon as possible, claimed that they could be released within days.

After all of them have spent two years behind the bars the appeal court decided that even more time than they would received for the lesser charge had been already served.

Last year at the trial Walli and Boertje-Obed received tougher sentence because of their criminal past. The trio, which representatives are also the members of the group Transform Now Plowshares, caused damage for more than $1,000 (£650) to government property and were found guilty.

They cut a fence to enter the building and then walked around, spray-painting graffiti, stringing out crime-scene tape and chipping walls with hammers for about two hours. Besides, the construction’s exterior was sprayed with human blood contained in baby bottles. After guard came, they offered him food and started singing.

Sister Megan said at the trial that the only thing she was sorry for was waiting so long to stage her protest and said about the manufacturing that ‘it can only cause death’.

After launching an inquiry at the facility US lawmakers and the Department of Energy discovered a lot of troubling displays of ineptitude. Top officials were reassigned, including at the National Nuclear Security Administration.

The security company of that site, WSI, was dismissed together with other officers, who were sacked, demoted or suspended.

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