On Monday, January 28th, Joanne Anderson, Ozone Bhaguan, Le Anne Clausen, Art Landis, Ed Lewinson, Chris Lieberman, Diane Lopez Hughes, Tiel Rainelli, Gus Roddy and Stephen Schweitzer will face federal criminal trial for trespass – punishable up to six months in federal prison.

These eleven human rights activists are part of the faith-based group SOA Watch which stages annual protests and vigils calling for the School of the Americas to be closed down on the amply documented grounds that its alumni–Latin American soldiers from various US allies–are responsible for some of the worst human rights abuses in Central and South America.

The eleven activists extended the protest last November and entered the Fort Benning military base Columbus, Georgia through a side entrance in order to continue the nonviolent protest being conducted outside the base by thousands of people including Dennis Kucinich and Cynthia McKinney.

Columbus will once again be the meeting place for human rights activists from around the country this coming weekend as families, friends and supporters will join in solidarity with the SOAW 11 as they stand trial. Join SOA Watch and the SOAW 11 on the eve of the trial for a "Festival of Hope" starting at 7:00 PM in the Days Inn Ball Room at 3170 Victory Drive in Columbus.There’ll be a program of music, poetry and theater as well as the opportunity to meet fellow activists from across the country. Then, the next morning, the SOAW 11 along with friends, families and supporters will take part in a procession through downtown Columbus to the steps of the courthouse.

Click here to learn more about SOA Watch, click here to make a contribution to support the group’s efforts, click here if you’d like to join SOA Watch’s Research Working Group and click here if you’d like to volunteer on one of the organization’s campaigns.