US: fined for saving children's lives
The United States Office of Foreign Asset Control imposed a A$27,000 (approximate) fine on retired engineer Bert Sachs for taking children's antibiotics and multivitamins to Iraq without applying for an export licence. Mr Sachs works with Voices in the Wilderness — an NGO founded by Catholic theology graduate Kathy Kelly — Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility, the American Friends Service Committee and a number of faith-based organisations. He takes medicines and toys to Iraq, which has been under draconian sanctions since August 1990. If Mr Sachs fails to pay the fine, he faces a 12-year jail sentence. However, Mr Sachs has launched an appeal for 1000 people to send A$27 or more to raise the fine's equivalent — to take more medicines and children's items to Iraq. He said that getting through the tortuous UN bureaucracy involved in granting export licences for medicine shipments to Iraq can take months. "The embargo is killing over 5000 under-fives a month — it is not honest to say it penalises the Iraqi people, it kills them. "I'm Jewish. I have been to Auschwitz. Nobody would say Auschwitz simply created hardship for the Jewish people — we need to be honest. "We have put into place a policy we know is deadly, that is a crime. "Policymakers say we are being tough on Saddam — that is untrue. We are killing children and I keep going to Iraq because kids keep dying", he said. Mr Sachs admits to "fear" of spending 12 years in jail, but he says that "conscience dictates challenging my government — and there is another part of me which feels very good that I am walking a certain walk".