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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE,  September 24, 2004

Syracuse, NY (Hanley Federal Building) –   Federal Magistrate Gustav J. DiBianco today sentenced John Murtari, Lyons, NY to serve 44 days in jail after being tried ‘in absentia’ for 4 counts of trespass at the Syracuse Federal Building.    Local and national members of the group AKidsRight.Org have been calling and faxing the offices of Senator Clinton, a member of the Senate Subcommittee on Children and Families,  regarding the recognition and protection of their Civil Right to raise their own children.  A focus of activity has been the actions of their coordinator, John Murtari (Lyons, NY

Group members encouraged that building officials no longer arrest Murtari (instead try to push/block him from entering the building) and hope that the staff of Senator Clinton may be unwilling to see this peaceful and persistent parent arrested and jailed – and a meeting may be near.  He had been allowed to peacefully walk outside the offices of Senator Charles Schumer and Congressman James Walsh.  Murtari objects to being pushed away as he petitions his government for Civil Right’s protection and remained outside during his trial.  Official were reluctant to ‘pull’ him into the building.

Outside the 14th floor offices of Senator Clinton,  Murtari has faced numerous Federal charges for his attempts to quietly walk in the halls carrying a picture of children with the words, “Senator Clinton, please help us.”  The charges resulting from over 30 past arrests have been dismissed in local courts.   Federal prosecution started in 2002 and there have been 20 more arrests, several convictions,  and some jail time.

The National Parent’s group (AKidsRight.Org) is attempting to use the methods of Martin Luther King in its search for reform.   The Group  would like Senator Clinton to respond to their  petitions for Congressional Hearings into the need for National Family Law reform and potentially a Family Rights Act, by meeting with local parents.

The Group’s web site highlights the NonViolent philosophy and practice Martin Luther King used to break the grip of segregation.  It hopes a similar attitude will help bring reform and also healing to parents who are often involved in bitter child custody disputes with each other or social services; if the nation can observe loving mothers and fathers making personal sacrifice to call attention to their unjust separation from their children – positive reform can happen. 

Mr. Murtari, a native of Lyons, New York and a former Air Force pilot and Academy graduate is a local coordinator for the group.  He is the President of a small Internet startup company located in Baldwinsville, NY.  Murtari had been defended in local courts by Mr. Charles Keller, an SU Law School professor, formerly in charge of the Criminal Division of Hiscock Legal Aid.  Mr. Keller has made strong arguments that this unique activity is Constitutionally protected.

In contrast to the bitterness and anger which is normally associated with protest efforts and family issues -- Murtari plans a positive attitude.  He says he is  NOT there to condemn Senator Clinton as a "bad person" or as someone who doesn't care about family or children's issues; however, as a natural part of the political process he wants to show his concern over the issue and to increase her sensitivity to their cause. The Group is hoping for Congressional Hearings into Family Law reform so that group members affected by the present patchwork of laws across the nation will have a chance to tell their stories.

For more information:

John Murtari, Group coordinator, (office: 315-635-1968,x-211)(cell: 315-430-2702).  

Mr. Richard Southwick, Asst US Attorney Northern District of NY: 315-448-0672
Mr. Charles Keller, SU Law School Prof. familiar with case: 315-443-4582
Ms. Cathy Calhoun, Regional Rep. for Senator Clinton315-448-0470  

Ms. Joan Grennan, Syracuse Federal Building Manager: 315-448-0603

Background information at the web site:  www.AKidsRight.Org