The three protesters who vandalized a uranium storage building at Y-12 National Security Complex in July said they would not accept a plea deal from the federal government earlier this year, even though prosecutors threatened to charge them with more serious sabotage crimes.
“We chose to exercise our constitutional right to a jury trial and refused to bow down to their threats,” the trio said in a statement released Wednesday. “We remain convinced that making and refurbishing nuclear weapons at Y-12 is both illegal under U.S. and international law, and it is also immoral. Ultimately, we are required to follow the law of love and our consciences.”
Calling themselves Transform Now Plowshares, the three protesters—Greg Boertje-Obed, Megan Rice, and Michael Walli— allegedly cut through fences at Y-12 before dawn on Saturday, July 28, entered a high-security area where deadly force is authorized, and splashed human blood and spray-painted slogans on the Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility, where bomb-grade uranium is stored.
On Tuesday, a federal grand jury in Knoxville returned a new charge against the trio for this summer’s unprecedented intrusion. The new count of injuring national-defense premises carries a prison sentence of up to 20 years, longer than any of the earlier potential penalties.