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Fr. Carl Kabat, 73, a catholic priest from St. Louis with a life-long history of resistance to nuclear weapons was sentenced to 15 months in prison. Greg Boetje-Obed, 52, a former Navy officer living with his family in the Catholic Worker community in Duluth Minnesota was given a 12 month and one day prison sentence. Michael Walli, 58, also with the Loaves and Fishes Catholic Worker in Duluth received 8 months. All were ordered to pay $17,000 restitution.
Recently, after learning that US jets were stopping at Shannon Airport to refuel on their way to bomb Iraq, the Pitstop Plowshares went onto the runway, poured their blood on it and started to take up the tarmac to prevent additional flights. After two mistrials, these peace protestors were acquitted on all counts earlier this year by an Irish jury who heard an expert on international law and other witnesses explain the illegality of the U.S. actions.
The judge challenged Greg Boertje-Obed’s decision to take actions that risked a year in prison instead of staying home with his family. “Why would one leave a wife and daughter at home to engage in juvenile acts of vandalism to protest nuclear weapons? I would think your commitment to your family should far outweigh your calling to such actions.” Greg’s wife, Michelle Naar Obed, was in the courtroom during this exchange. After the sentencing was over, Michelle shook her head and said, “If Greg had left us his for a year and risked his life to go to war to kill people, no one would question him – they would call him a hero! But, because he risked time in jail to act out his convictions for peace, people question his commitment to his family. That is a tragic.”