Friday, October 19, 2007

My friend Eve prepared to do time for peace

Scheduled speakers to include Rev. Yearwood, president of the HipHop Caucus and Gael Murphy, co-founder of Code Pink. Others have been invited.

For more information:
Eve Tetaz, 202-332-0599

Dear Friends,

On Friday, November 2, I appear in DC Superior Court for a status hearing on 4 charges ranging from failure to obey a legal order to incommoding and unlawful assembly.

A press conference will be held on the steps of the court house attended by several leaders and members of the peace community for the purpose of speaking truth to power and drawing attention to the violation of the right of the individual to peacefully and non-violently petition the government for a redress of grievances.

On October 15th the Prosecution presented me with a plea bargain that called for my pleading guilty to one of the charges and facing jail time. I will not plead guilty, but am willing to plead nolo contendere which means that I will only admit to peacefully being present at the scene. The case was continued to November 2 for a status hearing. If the Prosecution accepts my nolo contendere, I will be sentenced at this time. If not, a trial date will be set.

I remember discussing Henry Thoreau's essay entitled "Civil Disobedience" with my 11th Grade students at the height of the Viet Nam War. He maintained that the true place for a just man (or woman) when the government is acting unjustly is prison. So be it. The issue before us is the right of the individual to petition the government for a redress of grievances – a right that is the cornerstone of a functioning democracy.

On July 29, 2007, I was arrested and held overnight in Central Lock Up for violating a stay away order from the Capitol area while attempting to visit Senator Hilary Clinton, and on the eve of my 76th birthday, I was sentenced to two days in DC Jail. The Judges at both my arraignment on July 30th and my September trial, told me that although I had broken the law, I still had the constitutional right to petition my government for redress of my grievances. The day after my release from jail, I wrote to Senator Clinton requesting an appointment for the purpose of clarifying her position on issues involving the conduct of the war. I have not as yet received a reply.

When the government wages an unprovoked, pre-emptive aggressive, illegal and immoral war on Iraq that has been condemned by international law and the highest religious authorities - it does so in our name. When our government sets up a detention facility in Guantanamo condemned by the whole world, it does so in our name. When it kidnaps people off t he streets in countries around the world and furtively transports them to torture facilities in lands that allow torture, it does so in our name.

We the people declare that the government does not have the right to speak in our name when its actions violate the Constitution, and that in order to maintain the ability to be a nation governed by Law, we are obliged to invoke our right under the Constitution to declare without reservation that this country to which we pledge allegiance cannot be permitted to commit these horrific acts in our name.

It is for these reasons that the Peace Community is planning this press conference. Please join us.

Eve Tetaz

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