Cindy Sheehan convicted for trespassing

Cindy Sheehan, who emerged as one of the most vocal opponents of the Iraq war after her son was killed, was convicted Monday of trespassing for trying to deliver an anti-Iraq war petition to the U.S. Mission to the United Nations.

Sheehan and three other women were acquitted of disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and obstructing government administration. They will not face punishment as long as they stay out of trouble for the next six months, and were ordered to pay $95 in court surcharges.

They had faced up to a year in jail if convicted of all counts.

"We should never have been on trial in the first place," Sheehan said in a statement. "It’s George Bush and his cronies who should be on trial, not peaceful women trying to stop this devastating war. This verdict, however, will not stop us from continuing to work tirelessly to bring our troops home."

Sheehan and about 100 other members of a group called Global Exchange were rebuffed last March when they attempted to deliver a petition containing about 72,000 signatures to the U.S. Mission’s headquarters near the United Nations.

Sheehan and the defendants ignored police orders to leave and were reading the petition aloud on the sidewalk when police moved in. The women sat on the sidewalk and were carried to patrol wagons.

Prosecutors said they were arrested after ignoring police orders to disperse.

After the verdict, the women immediately left the courthouse and headed for the U.S. Mission to redeliver the petitions and ask for an apology.

They were met in the lobby of the building by Richard A. Grenell, director of external affairs for the U.S. Mission, and Peggy Kerry, the mission’s liaison for non-governmental organizations and sister of Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.

This time, Grenell took it.

"We accept petitions every single day, even without an appointment. What we don’t do is accept them in front of a staged media event," he said.

Sheehan, 49, of Vacaville, Calif., lost her 24-year-old son Casey in Iraq on April 4, 2004. She has since emerged as one of the most vocal and high-profile opponents of the war, drawing international attention when she camped outside President Bush’s Texas ranch to protest the war.

Her co-defendants were Melissa Beattie, 57, of New York; Patricia Ackerman, 48, of Nyack, N.Y., and Susan "Medea" Benjamin, 54, of San Francisco.

Associated Press writer Karen Matthews contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2006 The Associated Press