[News] Protesters go on hunger strike outside Guantanamo

Anti-Imperialist News News at freedomarchives.org
Thu Dec 15 11:11:14 EST 2005

Protesters go on hunger strike outside Guantanamo

News Service

Three of four Ithaca protesters convicted in September of trespassing
and damaging government property when they spilled their own blood in
a Lansing military recruiting office are now in Cuba protesting the
treatment of terror detainees at Guantanamo Bay, family members said.

Daniel Burns, Clare Grady and Teresa Grady have joined about 25 other
protesters fasting since Monday at a Cuban military checkpoint
outside the U.S. Naval base at Guantanamo Bay, said Mary Anne Grady
Flores, elder sister to Clare and Teresa Grady. The group of
protesters walked 66 miles from Santiago to the checkpoint.

"Their goal is to do the works of mercy and visit the prisoners,"
said Flores, an Ithaca resident. The group is demanding access to the
hundreds of detainees being held at the naval base, some since just
after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. About 32 of the
detainees are conducting a hunger strike to protest their treatment.

The three Ithaca protesters - along with a fourth defendant, Peter De
Mott - have had no travel restrictions placed on them by Judge Thomas
J. McAvoy until their sentencing in January in federal court. But one
of the conditions of their freedom is to not break any laws.

Americans face restrictions when traveling to Cuba and face both
civil and criminal penalties if they don't get approval from the U.S.
Treasury Department, a spokeswoman said. Molly Millerwise could not
confirm whether the three protesters had obtained the required
permission, saying that information was confidential.

Burns, De Mott and the Grady sisters called themselves the St.
Patrick's Four during their September trial in Binghamton.

The four in 2002 splashed their own blood on the walls of the
recruiting office, a flag and other items. Some of the blood was
splashed on a military recruiter.

A trial in Tompkins County ended in a mistrial, and the U.S.
Attorney's Office filed federal charges against the four, resulting
in the September trial and convictions.

The four are members of a Catholic Workers community in Ithaca. Burns
is a former Binghamton resident and is the son of Binghamton's late
mayor, John Burns Sr.

Missing from the group in Cuba is De Mott, who was convicted of
trespassing and damaging government property in Binghamton's federal
court in September. He stayed behind in Ithaca to support his
brother, a Roman Catholic priest, who suffers from a brain tumor,
Flores said.

Burns, De Mott and the Grady sisters will be sentenced on the
misdemeanor level convictions in January in Binghamton. They could
get sentenced to up to one year in prison. The jury in Binghamton's
federal court found the four protesters, who represented themselves,
innocent of conspiring to impede a federal officer, the most serious
of the four counts.

The protesters in Cuba say they will stay there up to a week awaiting
a response.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Originally published December 14, 2005

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