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Gate-crashers guilty 

click to enlarge A Peterson Air Force Base security guard detained Esther - Kisamore on Aug. 5 for trespassing in an act of civil - disobedience. - BRUCE ELLIOTT
  • Bruce Elliott
  • A Peterson Air Force Base security guard detained Esther Kisamore on Aug. 5 for trespassing in an act of civil disobedience.

Three peace activists who were arrested this summer after walking onto Peterson Air Force Base without permission were sentenced to community service last week.

Esther Kisamore, 65, Sister Barbara Huber, 73, and Puebloan Doug Gale, 80, represented themselves in a jury trial at the Colorado Springs Municipal Court. They didn't deny the charges of trespassing, and said they only wanted to tell jurors why they did what they did.

"We were heading to the church," Kisamore explained after the jury trial. "Why is there a church on a base to bless people who are going to war and people who are planning war, but they won't let us go to it to pray for peace?"

On Aug. 5, the three joined an estimated 50 other activists outside the base, and prayed for an end to war and sang songs while being closely observed by Air Force guards and Colorado Springs police. The three then marched across the red-paint property line at Peterson's gate.

They were arrested immediately, ticketed and released by Colorado Springs police, who filed the charges because the base property is owned by the city.

The three faced up to 90 days in jail and/or a $500 fine.

But after a jury found the trio guilty, Kisamore and Huber were sentenced to 59 hours of community service. The details of Gale's sentence were unavailable at press time.

In 2003, Kisamore, Huber and two other local activists were convicted for trespassing after trying to get to Peterson's chapel in 2002. Back then, Huber received 48 hours of community service, but Kisamore refused that option and served a week in jail.

During jury selection on Friday, the activists asked a pool of 19 potential jurors whether they thought civil disobedience was a proper way to challenge laws and policies they disagree with. Just three raised their hands.

"Our hope was that the people on the jury might have a different perspective about the law after the trial," Kisamore said.

-- Michael de Yoanna

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