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By WHITNEY PANDIL-EATON, Staff Writer, MinotDailyN
Protestor goes to court Man arrested at silo to face federal
Fri May 14, 2010 00:42

Protestor goes to court

Man arrested at silo to face federal charges

April 17, 2010

The man arrested Thursday at a Minuteman III launch site near Parshall will face federal charges.

James Richard Sauder, 55, of San Antonio, Texas, was arrested after allegedly scaling the fence of the H-8 missile silo southwest of Parshall to conduct a peaceful protest against nuclear weapons.

He was initially charged with criminal trespass, a Class C felony, and spent the night in the Mountrail County jail in Stanley.

Special Agent E.K. Wilson of the FBI said Sauder has been charged with one count of federal criminal trespass and was taken into federal custody Friday afternoon.

Wilson said a criminal complaint filed Friday morning was pending, but would not speculate on any additional charges.

Dressed in a green plaid, button-up shirt and khakis, under which ankle shackles could be seen, Sauder made his initial court appearance Friday afternoon at the U.S. District Courthouse in Minot in front of Magistrate Judge Charles S. Miller Jr. via videoconference.

Throughout the 45-minute hearing, Sauder repeatedly interrupted Miller by raising issues of jurisdiction, intent and his right to trial by jury, all of which were rebuffed until the appropriate hearing.

Sauder was appointed a public defender and was placed in the custody of the Attorney General until a detention hearing is held on Monday. He'll remain in custody until then in the Ward County Jail.

No trial date has been set.

This is not Sauder's first run in with the law, said Attorney Francis A. Boyle.

Boyle said he represented Sauder in 1982 when Sauder performed a similar demonstration at a missile launch facility at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri.

Sauder was charged with federal criminal trespass, found guilty and served six months in prison, he added.

Minus the occasional letter, Boyle said he had not spoken to Sauder for nearly three decades before receiving a phone call Thursday asking him to represent Sauder.

"People like Richard and the Ploughshares and others are some of the most principled people I've ever been fortunate enough to meet and I believe they have a right to peaceful, non-violent, prayerful demonstration against weapons of massive destruction and genocide," Boyle said. "

The future of humanity is at stake here and Richard and those like Richard out there are trying to do something."

A law professor at the University of Illinois, Boyle is a scholar in the areas of international law and human rights.

An author, Boyle's Protesting Power: War, Resistance and Law (Rowman & Littlefield Inc. 2007) has been used successfully in anti-war protest trials, according to the school's Web site.

Boyle said he has represented numerous similar cases involving peaceful protests against nuclear weapons.

"It was a very thoughtful, prayerful act at an Indian reservation, I do that myself at church. I don't understand why praying on a silo is a threat to anyone it's simply mindboggling" Boyle said. "

It's criminal what those missiles represent. Praying is the most effective tool we have right now to fight these Nazi-type weapons of genocide."

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