This photo was taken by the police officer who gave
us back our shoe laces after we were finally
released. Pictured (from the left), Abe Bonowitz,
Pam Dyer, Rick Halperin, Scott Langley, Peggy
Connally, Ron Kaz (standing) and Dan Giffin.
responses from supporters
Seven Arrested on 25th Gilmore Anniversary
On January 17, 1977, the State of Utah shot to death Gary Gilmore, who "volunteered" to be killed in revenge for his murder of Ben Bushnell and Max Jenson. This state-assisted suicide was the first execution under newly approved death penalty laws.
January 17th, 2002 marked the the 25th anniversary of that first prisoner-killing, the 752nd prisoner-killing took place the day before the anniversary.
To draw attention to the United States persistent pursuit of this fiscally irresponsible and irreparably flawed public policy seven peaceful demonstrators unfurled a 30 ft banner, identical to the one used in the 1997 action, on the steps of the Supreme Court of the United States and were subsequently arrested.
Click here to see the action as captured by the Supreme Court Video cameras.
Article in the Washington Post - Feb 15th
This event was organized by The Abolitionist Action Committee - an ad-hoc group of individuals committed to highly visible and effective public education for alternatives to the death penalty through nonviolent direct action.
back to AAC main page
SEVEN PROTESTERS ARRESTED ON STEPS OF U.S. SUPREME COURT
ON 25TH ANNIVERSARY OF EXECUTIONS IN THE U.S.
7 protesters were arrested Thursday after unfurling a 30-foot banner on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court on the 25th anniversary of the resumption of executions in the United States.
On Jan. 17, 1977, the State of Utah executed Gary Gilmore by firing squad after Gilmore declined to pursue his appeals. Since executions were allowed to resume, 752 people have been executed in the United States, with 6 more executions scheduled by the end of this month alone.
Members of the Abolitionist Action Committee Thursday called for a halt to executions. "How many more will be killed before the United States recognizes the death penalty for the fiscally irresponsible and flawed public policy that it is?" said Abe Bonowitz, a Florida resident and one of the 7 individuals arrested.
"In the 25 years since Gary Gilmore was executed, numerous countries have abolished the death penalty in law or practice," said Pam Dyer, a resident of Canada who lives just outside of Montreal. "America has executed 752 human beings. It is enough."
In addition to Bonowitz and Dyer, the other 5 people arrested were Peggy Connally of Paradise, Texas; Daniel Giffin of Boston; Rick Halperin of Dallas, Texas; Scott Langley of Boston; and Ron Kaz of Charleston, South Carolina.
Connally, who teaches government, said she tells her students that when all other avenues of protest are closed, civil disobedience is 1 option for airing views that do not reflect majority opinion. "This is an unpopular opinion, but so was opposition to slavery and support for the right to vote," she said. "You never have to protect majority rights. Majority rights are always protected."
Langley, a Catholic Worker in Boston, said he is 25 years old "and almost my whole life the country has been executing people. I can no longer sit by passively as the machine of death violates our fundamental rights as human beings. The moral absurdity of the death penalty is great and unendurable. Let us not have such a machine any longer."
Giffin, also of Boston, said the death penalty in the United States has "infected our country with violence and degraded our sense of humanity. The death penalty is barbaric and an insult to our country. I can't bear to keep quiet."
The protesters were arrested after unfurling a 30-foot-long banner that read "STOP EXECUTIONS." Immediately after the banner was unfurled, Supreme Court police rushed the protesters and ripped the banner from their hands.
From Tim Stanton
From David Elliot (NCADP)
The seven persons arrested Thursday morning for unfurling a banner on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court continue to be held Thursday evening. As of 9 p.m. Thursday evening, it appears evident that these seven individuals might be held overnight.
The seven people have very competent legal representation. It appears that the delay in their release has to do with confusion in the bureaucracy over which U.S. jurisdiction is responsible for their incarceration.
We will keep you posted. A support team and a lawyer is monitoring the events and will be available for the "Supreme Court 7" once they are released!
From Abe Bonowitz
|Abolitionist Action Comittee (AAC)
c/o PMB 335
2603 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Hwy
Gainesville, FL 32609
800-973-6548, Fax: 561-743-2500 firstname.lastname@example.org
|This web site is sponsored by:
Citizens United for Alternatives to the Death Penalty