Grandma Drone Protester to Be Jailed for Six Months

Human Rights

Last Tuesday, which marked the National Day of Action to Stop Killer Drones, Mary Anne Grady Flores, a grandmother of three and committed drone resister, learned she has been sentenced to go back to jail for six months. Her sentence starts on Tuesday, Jan 19. She has been told to report to the Dewitt Town Court to be remanded to Jamesville Correctional Facility, East Syracuse NY.

According to a press release about her case:

Mary Anne had been out on appeal of a lower court convicting her of violating an order of protection. It had been given on behalf of Col. Evans of the Hancock Air National Guard Base 174th Attack Wing (in Syracuse, NY), to “protect” him from nonviolent anti-drone activists. She had been charged with violating the order while taking pictures of eight Catholics protesting the US drone assassination program at Hancock on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013.  Onondaga County Court Judge Miller upheld the lower court conviction. Of note is that all eight Catholic drone resisters were acquitted because they went to uphold law, not break it.

Orders of protection, typically given in domestic violence situations, have been used by the Court and the Base in an attempt to deter protest and suppress free speech. Judge Miller also upheld a lower court ruling on the Hancock 17, seventeen nonviolent drone resisters given orders of protection, jail time, and fines. In her sentencing statement on July 10, 2014, she said “There are 4 perversions which brings me before this court and the last is the reversal of who is the real victim here? The commander of a military base involved in killing innocent people halfway around the world, or those innocent people themselves, who are the real ones in need of orders or protection.” The people of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and Palestine need orders of protection against the killer drones being launched from U.S. Air Bases. 

Flores belongs to the Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars, which has been protesting the U.S. drone assassination program since 2011. The group was further galvanized by an article in the Intercept based on leaked military documents called the Drone Papers, which revealed that 90% of drone assassinations kill civilians, including children. On the National Day of Action, drone resisters were arrested at Creech Air Force Base (Nevada), Beale AFB (California) and Volk AFB (Wisconsin), and Ramstein AFB, Germany and in Pakistan, all a part of the worldwide resistance to drones.

Flores reportedly received the verdict and sentence in her case by mail, even though she was originally told to appear in county court on January 22 to hear the court's decision. Her supporters speculate that this may have been an attempt to prevent a courtroom and media frenzy, which happened when she was originally sentenced. 

For more information, watch this six-minute video, Drones of Upstate NY, about the case.

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