News Release

* Staff Sgt. Camilo Mejia * Peace Activist Kelly To Be Imprisoned


Norma Castillo and Alexis Castillo are aunt and uncle to Camilo Mejia. Tonight on CBS, 60 Minutes II will be airing a segment on Mejia, the Florida National Guard staff sergeant who did not return to Iraq from leave and turned himself in recently. Mejia has filed for conscientious objector (C.O.) status and has spoken out against the war in Iraq, saying: “I could not continue to do the things I was doing in Iraq…. I’m completely against it because it’s an oil-motivated war.” [For more on Mejia’s case, see:,] More Information

Hiken has worked on military legal cases since the Vietnam War. He is on the steering committee of the Military Law Task Force of the National Lawyers Guild. Hiken said today: “G.I.s seeking discharge from the military have a variety of choices available. While many believe that C.O. status is the only available one, in fact there are many discharges available…. The problems with filing a C.O. discharge are that it takes many months to process and the G.I. is obligated to continue serving in the meantime. Also, C.O. discharges don’t normally apply to those opposed to a particular war. There’s a lot of people who are not really C.O.s — they don’t oppose war in all its forms — but do oppose the particular wars that the U.S. government has been waging. They view them as aggressive, deceitful and opportunistic.” [For more on conscientious objectors, see:] More Information

Kelly will begin serving a four-month prison sentence on April 6. The founder of Voices in the Wilderness, a group which opposed the sanctions and bombing of Iraq, Kelly has been repeatedly nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. She is to be imprisoned for actions at two U.S. military installations carried out with other activists. Kelly said today: “On Mother’s Day in May 2003 we crossed onto two feet of government grass at Project ELF in Wisconsin. The ELF site houses an Extremely Low Frequency tower used by the U.S. military to command the launch of missiles from Trident submarines…. I explained to the judge that because we were in Iraq during the massive bombing — ‘Shock and Awe’ — that began on March 20, 2003, we felt a particular responsibility to help close the Project ELF because we’d seen the lethal and brutal civilian suffering that Tomahawk Cruise missiles caused.” Another part of her imprisonment is because she crossed the line into the School of the Americas/WHINSEC in Georgia
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Director of the law clinic at Loyola University in New Orleans, Quigley has represented Kelly and over 100 others in actions at the School of the Americas at Fort Benning in Georgia. He is currently working on a book entitled Why I Crossed the Line, chronicling the activists’ reasons for their civil disobedience. He said today: “Graduates of the School of the Americas (which recently changed its name) have been involved in hundreds of violations of human rights and international law and victimized hundreds of thousands of people.” In separate legal proceedings, Quigley has represented Voice in the Wilderness in its legal case involving U.S. government fines of $20,000 for sending medicine to Iraq.
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167