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Friday, January 25, 2008

Protester returns home after protest

By Randall Beach
Register Staff
A New Haven man arrested last October during a "die-in" at Blackwater USA headquarters in North Carolina was able to come back home Thursday after receiving a five-day prison sentence, which he already has served.
Mark Colville, 46, who lives at the Amistad Catholic Worker house on Rosette Street, was one of seven protesters arrested Oct. 20, 2007, on a charge of second-degree trespassing. Six of them, including Colville, also were charged with resisting or obstructing a police officer.
The arrests came after they drove a station wagon covered with simulated bullet holes and smeared with red paint onto Blackwater’s property. They were re-enacting a Sept. 16, 2007, event in Baghdad in which 17 Iraqi civilians were shot to death as they approached a convoy guarded by Blackwater security personnel.
The dead included an Iraqi doctor and her son.
"What we tried to do from the beginning was bring the 17 victims of the massacre, and their families, into the courtroom," Colville said during an interview Thursday as he was being driven back to New Haven. "We effectively did so by the end."
Last December a North Carolina judge imposed prison terms ranging from 10 to 45 days. Colville, who received a 45-day sentence, was also fined $450. All seven of them appealed because the judge in that first trial had not allowed them to testify about the 17 victims.
The jurors announced their guilty verdicts Wednesday and the sentence was imposed Thursday. This time there were no fines.
Colville was free to come home because he had already served the five days last fall while waiting for a bail hearing.
"I feel good to be coming home," Colville said. "But my heart is still heavy about the victims of the war in Iraq. We need to get it stopped. We need to keep taking risks in order to do that."
Colville said Blackwater’s representatives should be prosecuted rather than those protesting the company’s actions.



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