Washington, D.C. (20 August 2008) - On August 1, 18 pro-lifers were falsely, brutally arrested on bogus charges by Maryland state police officers. Most were scared, crying teenage kids. They weren't told the charges for which they were being arrested and they weren't read their Miranda Rights. The girls were humiliatingly searched, and all were locked up. Most weren't allowed to see their lawyers and were denied their phone calls.
This is one of the largest mass arrests of pro-lifers since the days of the clinic rescue movement which ended in the early 1990s. It's a clear violation of First and Fourth Amendment rights.
It's being ignored in a massive media blackout.
"This type of harassment has been used against peaceful protestors in the past and never have these tyrannical methods been acceptable," said Jen Catelli, director of media relations at American Life League. "The pro-life community needs to stand up and demand media attention for these heinous abuses."
Defend Life's Maryland Face the Truth Tour had one final stop to make in Hagerstown, Maryland. They peacefully set up their signs along a stretch of highway and began to pray. State police officers soon showed up and demanded they take down their signs. The pro-lifers complied and moved to a different area.
State police followed and began making arrests.
"They violated all our rights," said Jack Ames, president and founder of Defend Life. Ames spent the night locked in a cell with the other pro-lifers. Ames and his fellow pro-lifers spent the night praying and singing the Lord's Prayer, the Ave Maria and Tantum Ergo. The next morning officials released the pro-lifers. Charges have since been dropped.
"American Life League is committed to making sure these people get the attention they deserve," Catelli said. "This kind of blatant disregard for pro-lifers' rights on the part of Governor Martin O'Malley's state police won't be tolerated. If these pro-lifers were pro-abortion activists or PETA protesters, this would have been on the front page of every newspaper on the East Coast."
"As more information surfaces about this mass arrest, ALL will ensure that everyone in the pro-life movement hears about these heroes," Catelli continued.
American Life League was cofounded in 1979 by Judie Brown. It is the largest grassroots Catholic pro-life organization in the United States and is committed to the protection of all innocent human beings from the moment of creation to death. For more information or media inquiries, please contact Katie Walker at 540.659.4942.
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