Tuesday, July 01, 2008

 

ANTIWAR LEGAL VICTORY CELEBRATED!

Please distribute widely. Thanks.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Malachy Kilbride 202-841-2230
Ann Wilcox 202-441-3265


ANTIWAR LEGAL VICTORY CELEBRATED!

Tuesday, July 1, 8 AM
WashingtonDC Superior Court, 500 Indiana Avenue NW


July 1 - An antiwar legal defense victory rally and press conference was held today outside of Washington DC Superior Court and was attended by US military veterans and peace activists from around the country. Paul “zool” Zulkowitz of Woodmere, NY, represented by antiwar attorney Ann Wilcox, won an agreement with the United States Government on June 30. Zool voiced opposition during the public hearing with General David Petraeus at the Senate Armed Services Committee chaired by Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) on April 8, 2008. Zool stood and chanted “Bring them home, bring them home! . . . ,” was arrested and charged with one misdemeanor count of “disruption of Congress.” Rather than a jury trial and possible 6 months in jail, zool walked out of the courtroom with a diversion agreement and a dismissal of the stay-way order from Capitol Hill.

Ann Wilcox of the National Lawyers’ Guild, stated that: “The offer of dismissal before judgment is a victory, because the Government does not necessarily want to expend the time and resources for a jury trial. Further, the Government may not want to provide a forum for antiwar views in the Court of Public Opinion.”

“Contrary to Sen. Levin's view, citizens attending a public hearing are not an 'audience',” zool said. “Though I might have considered the Petraeus hearing to be a farce, a public hearing is not theater, the Committee is 'doing the people's business,' and citizens, members of the public, have a responsibility to hold elected representatives accountable for the way they do the people's business.”

“This is a great victory for zool…” noted Malachy Kilbride board president of Washington Peace Center, “But, people need to know that the government is cracking down on those who openly dissent against the war and occupation of Iraq.” Kilbride said “Since the build up to the war in 2002 over 15,000 people have been arrested protesting the war. However, we are now at a point in which serious jail time and stiff sentences are being meted out to those exercising their First Amendment rights” Kilbride said.

“I am pleased zool can have this victory…and that we now see a glimmer of hope at a time when arrests are rising and stiff sentences are being handed down…” said Lori Perdue, a veteran, who also has protested the war and is a member of Veterans for Peace from Missouri.

“We congratulate zool for the courage to speak out against the occupation of Iraq during the Petraeus hearing and for having the government recognize his right to free speech. This is a victory for all of us, since the trend has been in the opposite direction with peace activists facing more arrests, harsher charges and more onerous sentences. Of course, it is the warmakers, not the peacemakers, who should be facing criminal charges.” said Medea Benjamin of California and a founder of the peace group Code Pink.

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