Sophia's Peace Work

Monday, June 07, 2004

More from my friend Mike on the Voices Court Hearing

Contact: John Farrell (Voices in The Wilderness) (773) 619-2418 (on site), Carl Messineo (Partnership for Civil Justice) (202) 270-3531

(Washington, D.C.) At a court hearing today in the US District Court Building in Washington, D.C., Judge John D. Bates has given the US prosecution team two weeks to explain why it took 3 years and 11 months to initiate the $20,000.00 fine that the US Treasury Department had assessed onto Voices in The Wilderness (VitW) for "exporting medicines to Iraq."

Judge Bates also questioned inconsistency around the economic sanctions statute that explicitly allows for the delivery of food and medicine to those suffering in Iraq. Ironically, this was the same regulation that comprised the main complaint found in the summons which ViTW received on July 29, 2003 from the US Department of Treasury, Office of Foreign Asset Control.

ViTW has campaigned to end economic and military warfare against the Iraqi people since 1996. In over seventy delegations to Iraq, ViTW representatives delivered medicines to hospitals throughout Iraq, hospitals filled entirely with innocent civilians dying from preventable diseases. ViTW recognizes that an unjust law is no law at all, and will nonviolently resist all payments, fines, taxes, and laws that perpetuate war and restrict our rights and responsibilities as world citizens.

"The Judge in this case is asking the US Government the same questions Voices in The Wilderness delegates have been asking all along: How does serving the medical needs of dying Iraqis defy any law, US, International or moral?" stated Bill Quigley, ViTW lawyer and professor of law at Loyola University, New Orleans, LA. Mr. Quigley traveled to Iraq with a ViTW delegation months prior to the latest US led invasion of Iraq.

VitW is advocating for public scrutiny of the devastating sanctions regime in a counter law suit that they have filed against the US Government. Recent Congressional hearings have investigated what the US administration knew about the abuses at Abu Ghraib and the September 11th attacks. The counter-lawsuit by VitW has the chance to expose the genocidal history of US-led sanctions on Iraq, which claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of children under the age of five (UNICEF 1999).

VitW calls for its network to continue nonviolent resistance to warfare. We would also like to thank our legal team, especially Mara Verheyden-Hilliard and Carl Messineo of the Partnership for Civil Justice, and Bill Quigley of Loyola University, New Orleans. For more information, contact the Partnership for Civil Justice at 202-530-5630, Bill Quigley at 504-606-3073, or Tom Walsh in the ViTW Chicago office at 773-784-8065.

For documents regarding the case, please see


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