Five people who protested the U.S. use of drones at Beale Air Force Base in October were arraigned Tuesday morning in Sacramento federal court on misdemeanor charges of unlawfully entering military property. All five pleaded not guilty and asked for a trial.
The five defendants are Sharon Delgado, David Hartsough, Janet Hartsough, Janie Kesselman and Shirley Osgood. Osgood and Delgado are Nevada County residents, and Kesselman lives in Camptonville.
“I pleaded not guilty by reason of necessity because the harm being done is of such a scope that I felt it necessary to stand up and make my concerns known,” Delgado said.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Carolyn K. Delaney set a non-jury trial for April 15. According to Delgado, Delaney said the defendants face as much as six months and a $5,000 fine for the misdemeanor trespassing charge.
On the day of the arrest, about 100 activists from as far away as Fresno, the Bay Area, Sacramento, Chico and other California cities unfurled large banners and carried model drones and large photos of child victims of drone strikes to show the dark side of drone warfare, according to a press release.
Beale has been a target of anti-drone protests for years; it is home to the U2 and the Global Hawk, the unmanned surveillance drone.
Peace advocates have urged an immediate ban on the use of all drones for extra-judicial killing; a halt to all drone surveillance in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen and Somalia; a prohibition on the sale and distribution of drones and drone technology to foreign countries; and an immediate stop to drone warfare.
Prosecutor Nicholas Fogg moved to dismiss charges against four others cited at the Oct. 30 protest, and Delaney granted the motion.
The hearing was preceded by a protest on the plaza in front of the federal courthouse at Fifth and I streets in Sacramento. The defendants were among the 35 to 40 protesters, some of whom displayed banners and signs with messages such as “Stop Killer Drones.”
To contact Staff Writer Liz Kellar, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (530) 477-4229.