SOA protester assaulted in prison, held under protective custody

A School of Americas Watch activist has been physically assaulted in prison and is now being held in solitary confinement with a cell mate under protective custody, says a letter to his family and friends.

The letter, dictated by imprisoned activist Michael David Omondi over the phone from Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, Ga., describes an incident where Omondi and a fellow prisoner faced "the threat of microwave heated detergent being poured on our skin."

As Omondi describes the incident in the letter:

Yesterday afternoon I had a sense of an impending event, involving a new bunk mate as of Thursday, which I know came from the Lord. In short he crossed a line regarding respect for me and my belongings, which provoked a verbal reaction from my friend T. A few moments later T was being punched in the head repeatedly from behind, yet both he and I reacted nonviolently, but quickly, and the worst was over pretty fast.

Things did not simmer down right away, however. We faced the threat of microwave heated detergent being poured on our skin, and I was temporarily head-locked, while he continuously challenged me to fight for my friend and possessions. The guards were no where to be seen, but through it all we were both supernaturally protected and guided and a few hours later safely out of that dorm.

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Omondi is a member of the Los Angeles Catholic Worker community. He was arrested by federal authorities Nov. 21 in an act of civil disobedience for scaling the fence outside the main entrance to the Fort Benning military complex in Columbus, Ga.

The arrest came on the last day of the annual School of Americas Watch vigil, which was held Nov. 19-21 in Columbus.

Omondi was one of four activists taken into custody for intentionally entering the military base during the vigil. He pleaded no contest to charges of trespass in federal court Nov. 23, along with Franciscan Fr. Louis Vitale. Two other activists, Christopher Spicer and Nancy Smith, were released on bond with a trial set for Jan. 5.

U.S. magistrate judge Stephen Hyles sentenced Vitale and Omondi to six months in jail.

To give a sense of the trials Omondi and his fellow prisoner are facing, below is his letter in full:

Greetings in the name of my Lord Jesus Christ, whose mercy and goodness endures forever. All thanks, honor, and praise be to our loving creator whose mysterious abundance never fails.

I am dictating this message from a six person prison cell in Ocilla GA, where I and a close friend I have made while locked up, Tabouri Wilburn, (T for short) are being temporarily held under protective custody, (aka. the hole) after a physical altercation that took place around midnight last night in our previous dormitory residence in the same facility. Please, do not be alarmed. We are safe and in good health, and most importantly, thankful for the guidance protection and love of the Holy Spirit, which I know surrounds us and is keeping us in a positive and uplifted environment. My new cell mate is a pleasure to be with. We play cards and discuss the bible while orderlies heat up milk and water for us since we are not permitted to leave the cell. The noise from the television can be annoying, but keeping track of sports scores is pretty great.

Yesterday afternoon I had a sense of an impending event, involving a new bunk mate as of Thursday, which I know came from the Lord. In short he crossed a line regarding respect for me and my belongings, which provoked a verbal reaction from my friend T. A few moments later T was being punched in the head repeatedly from behind, yet both he and I reacted nonviolently, but quickly, and the worst was over
pretty fast.

Things did not simmer down right away, however. We faced the threat of microwave heated detergent being poured on our skin, and I was temporarily head-locked, while he continuously challenged me to fight for my friend and possessions. The guards were no where to be seen, but through it all we were both supernaturally protected and guided and a few hours later safely out of that dorm.

We know all your prayers were at that moment with us and continue to hold us as we await a hearing and movement out of protective custody. No injuries or wounds and though not serious, please pray for the pain and swelling on T's face and eye and for his family and three young children.

As a result of all this, I have not written any letters, but will be able to do so soon. The whole thing is on camera. We are fine, please do not worry. We are experiencing truly what it means to be surrendered to God's will, and that is all that matters.

Much love and heartfelt appreciation to all,

Michael David Omondi, # 6492,
Irwin County Detention Center,
132 Cotton Dr.,
Ocilla, GA 31774.


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