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Sister Megan Rice: 84-year-old nun’s protest ends with 3-year prison sentence

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Sister Megan Rice, the nun who received a three-year-prison sentence for her anti-nuclear protest, responded to her sentencing on Tuesday after the trial. "Please have no leniency with me," said Sister Megan Rice. "To remain in prison for the rest of my life would be the greatest gift you could give me." According to a Feb. 18, 2014, CBS News report, the 84-year-old nun asked the judge during her closing statement in court to sentence her for life.

Instead of life or the six years asked for by the prosecutor, the senior nun received a prison sentence of 35 months. Two other protesters, Greg Boertje-Obed and Michael Walli, received five years for having broken into the supposedly highly secured nuclear weapons facility in Tennessee and for having defaced a uranium processing plant.

Almost two years ago, on July 28, 2012, the more than 80-year-old nun and the two other activists cut through three fences at the nuclear facility, reached a $548 million storage bunker, hung up their anti-nuclear protest banners, surrounded the area with crime-scene tape, and splashed baby bottles of human blood on the bunker wall with messages like “the fruit of justice is peace.“

The three activists also “hammered off a small chunk of the fortress-like Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility inside the most secure part of complex.”

When security guards arrived at the allegedly highly-secured facility, the three activists offered them to share a Bible, candles, and white roses.

During the trial, 58-year-old protester Boertje-Obed said that "the reason for the baby bottles was to represent that the blood of children is spilled by these weapons.” Sister Megan Rice said that she was surprised that they had been able to get into the inside of what was supposed to be a most secured facility. She was also surprised that as a consequence, the operation of the plant was suspended.

While some people, including some government officials, had praised the activists for exposing the security weakness of the highly enriched Uranium facility, others, including prosecutors, regarded the three individuals’ action as a crime.

By handing down the almost three-year-prison sentence to Sister Megan Rice, and sentencing Greg Boertje-Obed and Michael Walli to five years, U.S. District Judge Amul Thapar expressed his concern for the lack of the activists’ remorse and wanted the punishment “to be a deterrent for other activists.”

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