Nukewatch staffer and Quarterly co-editor John LaForge has been sentenced to a 50-day jail term in Germany, for refusing to pay fines resulting from trespass convictions for several “go-in” nuclear weapons protests involving uninvited entry into Germany’s Büchel Air Base, where up to 20 US hydrogen bombs are stationed. The sentence will begin January 10 at the Billwerder prison in Hamburg.
LaForge appealed the convictions all the way to the Constitutional Court, which has yet to issue a decision. The appeal complains that expert witnesses — who were prepared to validate LaForge’s defense of “crime prevention” — were not allowed to testify. That decision, LaForge argues, effectively eliminated his right to present a defense.
The trial court in Cochem fined LaForge 1,500 Euros, which the appeal court in Koblenz later reduced to 600 Euros. In the US court system, refusal to pay the court-ordered fines is often ruled to be “contempt of court,” which can be considered a separate offense. Over four decades, LaForge has been jailed in the United States many times in anti-nuclear and anti-war actions.
Billwerder prison houses up to 734 adult male prisoners with relatively short sentences or held on pre-trial detention. It also holds up to 96 female adults or juveniles. Over a dozen German anti-nuclear resisters and one Dutch citizen have been jailed recently for nonviolent actions taken at the controversial NATO “nuclear sharing” base.
If you write to John, remember mail takes two weeks to reach Germany.
Am Glasmoor 99
Before entering prison he was joined by other activists that have endured jail time for their anti-nuclear protests in a zoom meeting. Watch it here: John’s Jail Send-Off Zoom Meeting
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