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Anti-nuclear nun released by magistrate judge in US

Sunday, August 5, 2012

 KNOXVILLE, Tennessee -- A U.S. magistrate judge on Friday ordered the release pending trial of an 82-year-old nun and another anti-nuclear activist charged with breaching security fences at one of the most sensitive U.S. nuclear facilities in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, where weapons-grade uranium is kept.

Officials said the facility was shut down on Wednesday at least until next week after peace activists Megan Rice, 82, Michael Walli, 63, and Greg Boertje-Obed, 57, cut through perimeter fences to reach the outer wall of a building where highly enriched uranium, a key nuclear bomb component, is stored. The activists painted slogans and threw what they said was human blood on the wall of the facility, officials said.

U.S. Magistrate Judge C. Clifford Shirley ruled the threat of violence was low and decided to release Rice, who according to her attorney has a thyroid and heart condition and has not been receiving her medication. The judge also released Walli. Both were given travel and other restrictions, according to defense attorneys.

Boertje-Obed waived his right to a defense attorney and will remain in detention.
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