Tennessee: Nun’s Sabotage Conviction Overturned

May 12, 2015

By The Associated Press

A nun and two fellow Catholic peace activists who splashed blood on the walls of a bunker holding weapons-grade uranium — exposing vulnerabilities in the nation’s nuclear security — were wrongly convicted of sabotage, a federal appeals court ruled Friday.

At issue was whether the defendants — Sister Megan Rice, 85, Michael Walli, 66, and Greg Boertje-Obed, 59 — had interfered with national security when they cut through fences to break into the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge in July 2012. A panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled in a 2-to-1 decision that they had not.

The trio had hung banners, prayed and hammered on a bunker wall to symbolize a Bible passage referring to the end of war: “They will beat their swords into plowshares.” The court upheld a less serious conviction for injuring government property.

Their lawyer said he hopes they will be resentenced to time served and released from prison, where they have been since being convicted in May 2013. Sister Rice was sentenced to nearly three years; Mr. Walli and Mr. Boertje-Obed are each serving just over five years.Φ

The Associated Press, which is headquartered in New York, operates in more than 280 locations worldwide, including every statehouse in the U.S. Two-thirds of its staffers are journalists.

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