FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Syracuse, New York (Nov 10, 1999) – Mr. John Murtari, a former Air Force Pilot and Academy Graduate, plans on going to jail tomorrow, Veteran’s Day. He has committed no crime and has no warrant against him. He says he’s a parent going “on strike” for the sake of his 6 year old child, Domenic. In planned Non-Violent Action, Mr. Murtari, plans on going to the Public Safey Building in Syracuse, NY at approximately 11 AM and being arrested as a “prisoner of conscience”. He takes this action not only to bring attention to his specific treatment by the Family Law system in the State of New York, but to also call attention nationwide to a frightening disregard for the rights of parents and children in custody proceedings.
Mr. Murtari plans on refusing bail or voluntary release, planning to remain imprisoned, until an investigation into his case can restore him as an equal parent in his child’s life. “My son and I have a warm and wonderful relationship — the long distance good byes and the counting of days till the next visit was just too much to bear. I never had a good answer when he would ask, ‘Daddy, why can’t I be with you more?’ — it is an awful situation.” Murtari had spent three weeks in Jail during a similar protest in February of this year. He expects this stay could last years.
“It is unfortunate that busy public officials only seem to respond after tragic violence … then investigations are opened and procedures are reviewed. I reject violence, but believe non violent action may have the same good result — I hope it is not too long for both Domenic and I.”
Mr. Murtari is the founder of a web site, http://www.kids-right.org, recognized as a Human Rights groups by the editors of Yahoo.Com. Made up of both mothers & fathers, they would like to see investigative and reform action at both the State and Federal levels. They have proposed legislation in terms of a Federal Family Rights Act of 1999 and believe committee hearings into custody proceedings would give shocking testimony from parents unjustly deprived of meaningful contact with their children. The solution his group recommends to this would involve giving the parent/child relationship the same Constitutional protections offered most criminals — the Jury.
The web site highlights the philosophy and experience of both Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, two great practitioners of Civil Disobedience, who both practiced a style which involved respect and love for your opponent, while demonstrating your own belief through personal Non-Violent Action.
After being involved in a custody dispute, and exercising his right to appeal as far as the United States Supreme Court — Murtari was devastated and shocked by the rejection of all his legal attempts, the failure of legislators to take effective action in response to his letters, and most recently the relocation of his son, Domenic, to San Diego, California.
Murtari is a former Air Force Instructor Pilot and Cum Laude graduate of the Air Force Academy. He has a Masters in Computer Science from Syracuse University and is the president of the Software Workshop, a small Internet company he founded in 1995. He has a long record of volunteer work with both the elderly and homeless in the Syracuse area, along with involvement in local politics.