11 Oct 2008

Peace campaigning nuns branded terrorists

6:28 pm on 11 October 2008

Two Roman Catholic nuns jailed for non-violent action against nuclear weapons were listed as terrorists by US authorities.

Sister Ardeth Platte, 72, and Sister Carol Gilbert, 60, received letters from the Maryland state police saying they had been wrongfully listed as suspected terrorists on a US federal database.

"To be labelled a terrorist is really very hard to hear and to accept, when your whole life has been one of loving non-violence," Ms Platte said.

Maryland State Police have sent letters to 53 activists wrongfully declared terrorists by authorities, inviting them to look at their entries in the database, after which the files would be deleted.

The Dominican nuns broke into a US nuclear missile silo in Colorado in 2002 and painted crucifixes with their own blood, earning them prison sentences of 41 and 33 months respectively.

"If they can label us as terrorists, they can label all kinds of people as terrorists," Ms Gilbert said.

"So then people become afraid to speak out against what the established government might be saying - and that is the demise of democracy."