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Free the "SOA6" - human rights activists sentenced to federal prison

by SOA Watch Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2009 at 9:57 PM
info@soaw.org 202-234-3440 SOA Watch PO Box 4566 Washington DC 20017

Shut Down the School of the Americas (SOA/WHINSEC)

 Free the "SOA6...
freethesoa6.jpg, image/jpeg, 640x414

on January 26, six human rights advocates appeared in a federal courthouse in Georgia. The "SOA 6," ranging in age from 21 to 68, were found "guilty" of carrying the protest against the School of the Americas (SOA/WHINSEC) onto the Fort Benning military base. The six were among the thousands who gathered on November 22 and 23, 2008 outside the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia to demand a change in U.S. policy towards Latin America and the closure of the SOA/WHINSEC.

The "SOA 6" spoke out clearly and powerful in court today. They made a compelling case for the closure of the school and creation of a culture of justice and peace, where there is no place for the SOA mindset that promotes military "solutions" to social and economic problems. The six spent the weekend preparing for their trials with a team of lawyers, legal workers and volunteers, and today they stood up for all of us working for a more just world.

The "SOA 6":
Father Luis Barrios, 56, from North Bergen, New Jersey, sentenced to 2 months in federal prison and 0 fine
Theresa Cusimano, 40 Denver, Colorado, sentenced to 2 months in federal prison and 0 fine
Kristin Holm, from Chicago, Illinois, sentenced to 2 months in federal prison and 0 fine
Sr. Diane Pinchot, OSU, 63, from Cleveland, Ohio, sentenced to 2 months in federal prison
Al Simmons, 64, from Richmond, Virginia, sentenced to 2 months in federal prison
Louis Wolf, 68, from Washington, DC, senteced to 6 months housearrest and 00 fine
Support the "SOA 6"




Fr. Luis Barrios

Father Luis Barrios is the Chairperson of the Department of Latin American & Latina/o Studies at John Jay College of Criminal Justice-City University of New York and a Board Certified Forensic Examiner with the American College of Forensic Examiners. He is also an Associate Priest at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, Manhattan, New York City. Fr. Barrios, as well is a Board Member of Interreligious Foundation for Community Organizing-Pastor for Peace. Professor Barrios is a columnist with El Diario La Prensa and has been honored with the Media Award-2006-GLAAD as an Outstanding Spanish Language Newspaper Columnist and was nominated again in the year 2008. He teaches courses on gangs, criminal justice, cultural criminology, forensic psychology, US foreign policy in Latin America, Puerto Rican Studies, race and ethnicity, and Latina/os Studies.

Click here to read Fr. Luis Barrios' trial statement


Theresa Cusimano

Theresa M. Cusimano, J.D., served as a public interest advocate for twenty years. Her Italian/Irish passion for social justice has led her to work with: the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops on immigration and refugee issues, the federal Department of Education on the Americans with Disabilities Act and more recently with Colorado Campus Compact to support college campus engagement in community problem solving. Cusimano was born in New York, raised outside of Philadelphia and has the joy of living in the Rocky Mountain state of Colorado. She is both honored and extremely humbled to have participated in nonviolent civil disobedience with her five co-defendants who together, face trial on Monday, January 26th.


Kristin Holm
Kristin is the third seminary student from Chicago to stand trial for civil disobedience at the WHINSEC vigil in the past five years. The others are Elizabeth Deligio, CTU, 2005; and Le Anne Clausen, CTS, 2008.

On November 23rd, 2008, Kristin Holm, a first year student at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (LSTC), along with five others, entered the base of the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation’s (WHINSEC), which is a federal offense which carries the possibility of up to six months in prison and a substantial fine.


Sister Diane Therese Pinchot, OSU

Born and raised in Cleveland Ohio, second oldest of six children, Diane Pinchot entered the Ursuline Sisters of Cleveland after graduating from Villa Angela High School in 1963. She graduated from Ursuline College with a BA in Art Education in 1968 and has been teaching since. Her assignments have included Saint Ann’s School in Cleveland Heights, Lake Catholic High School in Mentor, Beaumont School in Cleveland Heights and, for the last 26 years, Ursuline College in Pepper Pike. After completing several degrees -- an MALS at Wesleyan University in Conn. concentrating in metals and a terminal degree an MFA in Ceramic Sculpture in 1990 at Ohio University -- the Diocesan Cleveland Mission Team in El Salvador in 1992 asked her to come and help design and build an altar on the spot where the Churchwomen were found in a shallow grave after they were raped and killed. This significant action slowly changed Diane’s life and over time the Central American martyrs, especially Dorothy Kazel, a member of the Ursuline community, inspired her to become more active in social justice groups within the community and other national organizations. Her artwork has also reflected this transformation, becoming more narrative and engaging the viewer to question the meaning behind the form. She has exhibited her work internationally, nationally and regionally and has come to realize the sacred connection of justice and art making especially when it is grounded in Peace and Love.

Click here to read Sister Diane Therese Pinchot's trial statement.

Al Simmons

I'm a 64 year old pre-school teacher who retired last year. I was a teacher and director in pre-school programs in Richmond, VA. I have been married for 23 years to Marcia Dickinson.

We enjoy birding, camping, scrabble, reading, silliness and each other.

I'm a Vietnam Veteran from 1968 and it was then that I realized there had to be a better way. The past forty years I've been involved in peace, social and economic justice, gay rights, woman's rights and death penalty issues.

As I had said often to my four year olds in pre-school "Don't hurt- use words". I have been saying that, in various ways, to my government for many years.

Read an article about Al Simmons' trial.



Louis Wolf

Born October 31, 1940 in Dresher, Pennsylvania (then some 30 miles outside of Philadelphia), and grew up on a farm there. Attended Goddard College in Vermont (1958-63), graduated BA in 1963.

Spent one year (1961) in Denmark in work-study program. Job Training Officer (1964) with Flanner House, Indianapolis. Alternative service as a conscientious objector to military service in Laos (1964-67) building wells, water-seal latrines, and a school.

Did postgraduate studies (1967-72) at the University of the Philippines, College of Agriculture. Freelance correspondent in the Philippines.(1969-72) with Dispatch News Service International and American Report. Freelance writer and researcher in London (1972-77) with Transnational Research Associates International.

Co-founder and research director (1978-2005) of CovertAction Information Bulletin renamed CovertAction Quarterly, Washington, DC. Staff member (2007-present), Rock Creek Free Press, Bethesda, MD. Co-editor of two books, "Dirty Work: The CIA in Western Europe" (1978) and "Dirty Work II: The CIA in Africa" (1980). Have traveled throughout the Third World.

Read Luis trial statement
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