The Common Good
March-April 1999

Fines for Humanitarian Aid

by Andrew Schleicher, Molly Marsh | March-April 1999

Voices in the Wilderness, an organization that seeks to end sanctions against Iraq, was
notified by the federal government in early December that a penalty may be imposed against

Voices in the Wilderness, an organization that seeks to end sanctions against Iraq, was notified by the federal government in early December that a penalty may be imposed against them and several supporters for violating the embargo. The proposed penalty for Voices is $120,000; four individuals may be fined up to $12,000 each.

"The 'law' we have violated is to take medicine and toys to our sisters and brothers without a license," wrote Simon Harak, SJ, in a formal response to the notice. "We brought the medicines and toys because of the higher law of God's love of the people of Iraq."

The group stated that it would continue to violate the sanctions. Claiming the need to use its resources to assist Iraqi people, the organization said it would refuse to pay any fine and will fight any attempt to confiscate or freeze its assets. For information about the penalties and other actions, see the Voices Web site at www.nonviolence. org/vitw.

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