U.S. Appeals Court orders release of Y-12 protesters

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The Y-12 protesters, from left, Greg Boertje-Obed, Sister Megan Rice and Michael Walli. (KNS photos/Saul Young)

The Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ordered that three Y-12 protesters — Sister Megan Rice, Michael Walli and Greg Boertje-Obed — be released from federal prison immediately. The court recently overturned their conviction on sabotage charges for breaking into the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant in 2012, and attorneys for the three filed an “emergency motion” seeking their release pending a resentencing hearing (tentatively set for July 8) or a possible appeal of the court’s decision by government attorneys.

Bill Quigley, a law professor at Loyola University New Orleans who worked pro-bono as a member of the legal team, confirmed the court’s ruling this evening to free the three.

“The 6th circuit ordered their immediate release on their own recognizance,” Quigley said via email. “We are in contact (with)  Federal Bureau of Prisons seeking their immediate release now.  We hope they will be released no later than tomorrow (Saturday).”

The three protesters, who broke into Y-12 on July 28, 2012 to protest the planned construction a new multibillion-dollar production facility, have been incarcerated at federal prisons in three states — Rice in New York; Walli in Pennsylvania; and Boertje-Obed in Kansas.

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About Frank Munger

Senior Writer Frank Munger covers the Dept. of Energy's Oak Ridge facilities and many related topics — nuclear weapons, nuclear waste and other things nuclear, environmental cleanup and science of all sorts. Atomic City Underground is, first and foremost, a news blog, but there's room for analysis, opinion and random thoughts that have no place else to go.