Sincavitch to be Tried


Fifth Estate # 76, April 3-16, 1969

FLASH! Sincavitch has been convicted of being absent without leave and received a suspended sentence of six months confinement. He was ordered to report for active duty immediately, but Sincavitch has stated that he will refuse to do so.

Tom Sincavitch, who was arrested March 12 by some 40 FBI agents in his “sanctuary” of St. Joseph’s Episcopal Church, is confined in Fort Riley, Kansas.

He has been formally charged with being AWOL, rather than desertion, because of his “resignation” from a Fifth Army reserve unit. The AWOL charge carries a penalty of up to six months in prison.

Sincavitch has vowed that, when released, he will continue his non-cooperation with the military. He has been assigned a military lawyer for his court martial, but has so far been reluctant to accept defense counsel.

He sought sanctuary in St. Joseph’s to bear witness in a traditionally nonviolent action, to what he regarded as the “racism” and “enslavement” of the military. His desire was, in his view, to focus attention on these issues, and he has indicated no wish to be exonerated of breaking the law.

A member of Detroit Resistance organized a solidarity demonstration for Sincavitch at Fort Riley. It is located about 10 miles from the Kansas State University campus. Legal Self Defense (LSD) has contributed $300 to support the action and help pay organizing expenses.

Resistance is now engaged in seeking to find out whether Sincavitch wants a civilian lawyer, and to get him one if he does.

They are also issuing buttons bearing the legend: “I am Tom Sincavitch,” to try and keep the issues he raised alive. Up to 43 men wore nametags with that inscription in the church, demonstrating their support for Sincavitch during his sanctuary.

The buttons are available by mail for any contributions sent to The Resistance 31 King St., Detroit.


See Fifth Estate’s Vietnam Resource Page.