published Friday, September 13th, 2013

Judge delays sentencing for Tennessee nuke protesters

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A judge has delayed a sentencing hearing for a nun and two other protesters for breaking into a nuclear weapons plant in Tennessee.

The Knoxville News Sentinel reports the U.S. District Judge Amul R. Thapar granted a motion last week from defense attorneys asking to postpone the date.

The sentencing, which had been scheduled this month, was reset for Jan. 28 in Knoxville.

Defense attorneys said they needed more time to prepare for the proceeding.

The defendants — Sister Megan Rice and protesters Michael Walli and Greg Boertje-Obed (bohr-CHEE' OH-bed') — were convicted in May of sabotaging the plant and damaging federal property last year at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge.

Numerous letters have been sent to the federal judge asking for leniency and objecting to the government's labeling of pacifists as terrorists.

"The court continues to receive a large volume of letter," Thapar wrote the order postponing the hearing.

Among the letters to the judge is one from Rice.

"As a defendant, I ask only that you allow your conscience to guide you," she said, but also suggested Y-12 should be held responsible for sabotage.

"What has continued in operation for 70 years since being constructed has secretly been sabotaging all of life as we know it," she wrote.

The defendants remain in federal custody.

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