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School of The Americas Watch: Chico Grandmother To Be Released From Jail Friday After 60 Day Sentence For ‘Trespassing’ at Army Torture School

MAY 18 2007
1:15 AM

CONTACT: School of The Americas Watch
Leslie Johnson 530-518-9992

Chico Grandmother To Be Released From Jail Friday After 60 Day Sentence For ‘Trespassing’ at Army Torture School

CALIFORNIA - MAY 18 -Cathy Webster, a grandmother from Chico, CA., will be released from the Sacramento County Jail on Friday, May 18, after completing her 60 day sentence for crossing onto the U.S. Army Base at Ft. Benning, Georgia, as part of a protest against the U.S. Army School of the Americas.

She expects to be released at 5:00 a.m. and will join friends for lunch at 12:30 p.m. the Elk Grove Brewery & Restaurant, 9085 Elk Grove Blvd, Elk Grove. The restaurant is where she enjoyed her final meal in freedom with her friends immediately before turning herself in at the Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center on March 21.

Webster trespassed on the base to protest the teaching of counter-insurgency techniques and torture to Latin American soldiers that return to their home countries and commit atrocities, including massacres of women and children. In the same spirit as the civil rights movement, she used non-violent civil disobedience to shine a spotlight on the teachings of the school, renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC) in 2000.

After lunch, Cathy will return home to Chico, where her first stop will be at her Congressman's office to urge him to vote in support of H.R. 1707, which would suspend operations at the School of Americas until an investigation is completed into the crimes alleged to have been committed by SOA graduates.

“I'll be glad to regain my freedom and see my friends and family,” said Webster from jail on Thursday. “It was all worth it and I call on everybody to call your Congressman and tell him or her to vote yes on HR 1707."

Webster will deliver a pair of hand-knitted booties to Congressman Herger's office when she visits to speak to his staff about the SOA, to remind him of the Grandmothers’ plea that decisions be made with all the children of the world in mind. Booties have become the symbol of the 1000 Grandmothers and the group has targeted about 130 key Congressional representatives to receive similar booties in Washington this week.

Sixty-nine pairs have already been delivered, with the help of volunteers at the SOA Watch. All the booties have been knitted by grandmothers and their friends, including a large number contributed by a group of nun at the Sisters of Mary Reparatrix in michigan.

On May 26, there will be a Dance Party/fundraiser in Chico to welcome Cathy home and to give her a chance to report on her jail experienes to her friends back in Chico.

For more information about the School of the Americas/WHINSEC, go to


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