Scott Schaeffer-Duffy: Darfur and the necessity defense

posted by Mike on May 10th, 2007

Today I talked with Catholic Worker Scott Schaeffer-Duffy, who’s been appealing the conviction of seven protestors who in 2005 blocked the Sudanese embassy in Washington, DC, to protest the Darfur genocide.

All of the briefs and motions have been filed, and with luck there will be “oral argument” of the appeal this summer. Scott talks about why he thinks his group is not guilty, and how he’ll convince the judges of that.

For more info, see Darfur Genocide on Trial.

You can download the mp3 (3MB) or see other formats. You can also subscribe (RSS) to the podcast.

defendants rejoice at being free to go
May 25, 2005: Tom Lewis, Harry Duchesne, Brian Kavanagh, Liz Fallon, Brenna Cussen, Ken Hannaford-Ricardi, and Scott Schaeffer-Duffy are happy to be outside after a day in D.C. Superior Court.

Catholic Worker Darfur talk

posted by Mike on April 24th, 2007

Here is the audio of a talk on Darfur at Holy Cross College earlier this month by Brenna Cussen, with Scott Schaeffer-Duffy chiming in. They were part of a four-person Catholic Worker Peace Team that visited Darfur in December 2004.

I really liked part 2 of this talk, where they got into questions like: How can a pacifist respond to genocide?

Photo by Brenna Cussen
Woman in Darfur IDP camp, photographed by Brenna Cussen

Shaming China on Darfur

posted by Brenna Cussen on February 23rd, 2007

Eric Reeves:

The full-scale launch of a large, organized campaign to highlight China’s complicity in the Darfur genocide appears likely to begin soon.

This campaign has to spread.

posted by Brenna Cussen in China, Darfur | on February 23rd, 2007 | Permanent Link to “Shaming China on Darfur” | 1 Comment »

Darfur trial: appeal update

posted by Scott Schaeffer-Duffy on January 18th, 2007

(Background: Darfur Genocide on Trial)

The brief for the appellants (former defendants) has been filed. It was about 38 pages long with a 29 page appendix.

The District Attorney’s Office of the District of Columbia has until the 2nd of February to file its brief and then the appellants have 15 days after that to file a rebuttal brief if they so desire.

After this, the DC Court of Appeals will schedule oral arguments before three judges in DC. Their ruling will come sometime in the following six months.

Robert Hollander, the attorney who advised the defendants at trial, said that he believes this appeal has a strong chance of success. If it prevails, and the verdict is overturned, this will be a major victory for the campaign against genocide in Darfur and also for activists who hope to use the necessity defense to justify nonviolent civil disobedience.

Many lower courts have upheld necessity, but no court of appeal has done so for cases of civil diosbedience. The precendent would be very significant.

posted by Scott Schaeffer-Duffy in Darfur, Darfur Genocide on Trial | on January 18th, 2007 | Permanent Link to “Darfur trial: appeal update” | No Comments »

Another Central Massachusetts Darfur vigil

posted by Mike on November 19th, 2006

Central Massachusetts residents went to the Sudanese Embassy in Washington, DC, this Thursday, for a 24-hour fast and day-long vigil to call attention to the ongoing genocide in the Sudanese region of Darfur.

The participants were Al Guilmette, Ken Hannaford-Ricardi, David Maher, and Scott Schaeffer-Duffy. All four men have participated in previous Darfur-related vigils, and have been arrested for civil disobedience at the Embassy. Scott visited Darfur with a Catholic Worker Peace Team in December 2004.

McGovern speaks on Darfur, protestor arrested

posted by Mike on October 31st, 2006

Last night US Rep Jim McGovern, who was arrested earlier this year for protesting at the Sudanese embassy, spoke in Worcester about Darfur. Telegram:

Before Mr. McGovern’s speech, Clark security police handcuffed and carried from the hall an anti-Zionist demonstrator after he allegedly refused to stop passing out literature. Peter Lowney, 36, of Valdez, Ark., was taken to Worcester Police Headquarters and charged with trespassing, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

Another anti-Zionist demonstrator, David Rolde a member of the Green Rainbow Party of Massachusetts, agreed to leave the hall. Picketing outside Higgins, Mr. Rolde said they were there to express opposition to a U.S.-U.N.-Zionist invasion of Sudan “for oil and uranium.” A third picketed on Main Street across from Clark, which she described in her placard as a “fascist university.”

The protestors have posted their own account at Indymedia.

The Green-Rainbow Party is mentioned with good reason: the GRP has a statement on Darfur. The statement opposes both military and financial action. Not sure where that leaves you.

Personal observations: I’m not buying the Zionist angle; I’d take the arguments of the protestors more seriously if they were also working to end the violence in Darfur; I wish the GRP would stay away from foreign policy issues, and focus on Massachusetts. I’m currently registered GRP, but this sort of nonsense makes me want to change that.

A letter from Darfur

posted by Brenna Cussen on October 3rd, 2006

Dear Brenna
Greetings to you!
I would like to thank you for the money ($325) which you sent to us trhough Mr Ezibon. I have received the money and it was immediately used to buy exercises books for children in Comboni Taiba School which is a traning centre for the displaced teenagers boys. We have now 146 boys in that school…They are receiving a basic literacy course…We would like also to give them a Vocational Training in Welding, electricity and Arts if possible…

Our Women Promotion Group is also going well… Now we have a Women Literacy Programm going on with about 150 Women in three different centres within Nyala town. There is also a progamm of in-come generating project… If you could help us to help these women, it will be great!

Thank you very much and best wishes!
Fr. Denima

“Tout est bien qui fini bien!”

If you’re interested in making a donation to Fr Denima, contact Brenna Cussen.

Me and Fr. Denima, who helped start a women’s economic
cooperative at the church. December, 2004.

posted by Brenna Cussen in Darfur | on October 3rd, 2006 | Permanent Link to “A letter from Darfur” | No Comments »

Sending donations to Darfur

posted by Brenna Cussen on July 14th, 2006

If you would like to raise money directly for St.
Joseph’s Church (and the good work they are doing) in
Nyala, Darfur, please email me at

0cussen-R5-041-19 0cussen-R2-023-10
Kids that go to the school the church provides. Photos by Brenna Cussen, December 2004.

Me and Fr. Denima, who helped start a women’s economic
cooperative at the church. December, 2004.

posted by Brenna Cussen in Darfur | on July 14th, 2006 | Permanent Link to “Sending donations to Darfur” | 4 Comments »

More Darfur pix are up

posted by Mike on June 12th, 2006

06_07Just a note that a couple hundred more Darfur-related pix are now available.

posted by Mike in Darfur | on June 12th, 2006 | Permanent Link to “More Darfur pix are up” | 1 Comment »

Seven more arrested for Darfur

posted by Mike on May 17th, 2006

Seven members of the U.S. Congressional Black Caucus were arrested yesterday for civil disobedience at the Sudanese Embassy to protest the ongoing genocide in Darfur. According to Reuters, they paid $50 and were released.

As far as I know, this is the second Congressional group, and third group overall, to commit civil disobedience at the embassy this year. (Thanks to Jim Fussell for the heads-up on this one.)