Nun, 84, two other protesters get jail for Oak Ridge nuclear protest

Feb. 18, 2014 at 6:31 PM
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn., Feb. 18 (UPI) -- Three anti-nuclear activists, including an 84-year-old Catholic nun, received jail terms Tuesday for breaking into a nuclear weapons plant in Tennessee in 2012.

Sister Megan Rice received a 35-month term, and her co-conspirators, Michael Walli and Greg Boertje-Obed, received 62-month terms, WVLT-TV, Knoxville, reported.

Rice, 84, Michael Walli, 64, and Greg Boertje-Obed, 58, were convicted of breaking into the Y-12 Security Complex at Oak Ridge, a nuclear weapons manufacturing facility operated by the U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration and considered among the most secure buildings in the world. They defaced a uranium-processing facility with human blood as an anti-nuclear protest.

An unexpected snowstorm had closed the U.S. District Court in Knoxville Jan. 28, the original date scheduled for their sentencing.

The trio, who had faced the possibility of life in prison, had asked for leniency, stating their actions were symbolic and their mission was to call attention to the United States' stockpile of nuclear armaments. Government prosecutors suggested jail terms of six to nine years for each, WBIR-TV, Knoxville, reported.

In 2012 Rice, Walli and Boertje-Obed admitted they made their way through wire fences, broke through layers of security and splashed blood on the outside of the building before they were apprehended. A jury convicted them of sabotage last May.

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