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Drone Protestors Sent To Prison

Paki Wieland

A well-known peace activist from western Massachusetts is in prison in New York after being found guilty last week of disorderly conduct for a protest at an air base outside of Syracuse.

   Paki Weiland of Northampton was one of a dozen protestors sentenced to 15 days in prison. The group was arrested at the Hancock Air Base in October 2012. They were protesting the use of drones operated from the base in the war in Afghanistan.  Jeff Napolitano of the American Friends Service Committee said Weiland has been trying to raise public awareness about the drone issue.

" Their going to prison is another forum in which the public at large understands there are people in communities who are concerned and have a conscience about what is going on."

   Dewitt Town Justice David Gideon, who sentenced the protestors Friday evening, said he had to send a resounding message to stop the protests.  According to the Post Standard of Syracuse, the judge said he was concerned over the possibility of a violent confrontation outside the base.

Paul Tuthill is WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief. He’s been covering news, everything from politics and government corruption to natural disasters and the arts, in western Massachusetts since 2007. Before joining WAMC, Paul was a reporter and anchor at WRKO in Boston. He was news director for more than a decade at WTAG in Worcester. Paul has won more than two dozen Associated Press Broadcast Awards. He won an Edward R. Murrow award for reporting on veterans’ healthcare for WAMC in 2011. Born and raised in western New York, Paul did his first radio reporting while he was a student at the University of Rochester.