Anti-drone activist Grady Flores released from jail pending appeal

by Patrick O'Neill

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A peace activist who received a one-year jail sentence stemming from an anti-drone protest has been freed from jail pending an appeal.

Mary Anne Grady Flores was released Friday on $5,000 bail from the Onondaga County Justice Center in Syracuse, N.Y., after appearing before County Court Judge Thomas J. Miller, who granted a stay of execution of her sentence pending appeal of an order of protection granted to Col. Earl Evans by the DeWitt Town Court.

"Despite being out on bail, [Grady Flores] still faces returning to jail. Her appeals process will take months," states a news release from Grady Flores' support committee.

The protection order, which Grady Flores was convicted of violating, bans protesters from being near Evans and the Hancock Field Air National Guard Base, a training center for drone pilots, technicians and maintenance workers, as well as other drone activities.

Grady Flores, a mother of four and a grandmother of three, is the first person convicted of violating the order. More than 50 drone activists who have been given the same order face possible trials.

"The local judges of the Town of DeWitt have helped shut down the protests of the murder of Afghan civilians by drones piloted from the airbase. They have prevented us from exercising our First Amendment rights by issuing the Orders of Protection on behalf of the base," John Hamilton of Upstate NY Coalition to Ground the Drones & End the Wars said in the release.

Grady Flores was arrested Feb. 13, 2013, Ash Wednesday, at a nonviolent protest at the base. At her trial, she testified that she was not planning to be arrested and had accidentally stepped onto base property while taking pictures of the protest. This is Grady Flores' second jail sentence from that court this year: In February, she served seven days for a previous Hancock arrest.

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