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Death row movie nun set to visit Australia

Sr Helen Prejean csj - the anti-capital punishment advocate depicted in the 1995 film Dead Man Walking - will make a return visit to Australia later this month, to take part in public lectures, presentations and conversations, in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne.

Sr Prejean was in the news at the weekend after she told BBC Radio Scotland that 40-year-old death row Scot Kenny Richey should be set free and recompensed for his 18 years in prison. Richey's conviction for killing a child in a fire was quashed last month.

Sister Prejean said: "The people who withheld evidence or who distorted evidence should be held accountable."

She added: "The state ought to recompense people with whom they make mistakes and cost them 18 years of their lives.

"How can you really compensate somebody who has been tortured?

Sr Prejean will be accompanied on her Australian visit by Sr Marya Grathwohl osf of the Genesis Farm centre for ecology and spirituality.

The visit is being organised by the Sisters of St Joseph and the Franciscan Friars. The speakers willfocus on issues that currently confront Australia.

"In an age which can seem to offer only increasing terrorism and polarisation, and the detachment of people from their environment, their input will be relevant," says spokesperson Joanne Marsh.

She describes Sr Prejean as a "passionate, dynamic and articulate defender of human rights".

"She believes strongly in the need for a transparent and accountable justice system that treats people with dignity and fairness and that breaks the cycle of violence that is endemic in our societies. Helen's public lecture will focus on her own journey towards social justice and social compassion. This offers us an invitation to live our lives beyond anger, despair and revenge."

Sr Grathwohl is a strong and passionate advocate of ecological justice and works with groups to explore the possibilities for sustainable living and working.

"Marya's presentation will invite us to think about how our care for creation, our sensitivity to the Indigenous peoples of the land and our own well-being might be more meaningfully connected.," said Ms Marsh.

"Helen and Marya work together in many forums to help people make the connections between justice to the disadvantaged and justice to the earth itself," she said. "Their public conversation promises to enrage us about injustice and disintegration but also engage our senses and sensibilities, enlarge our horizons, and enliven us as we work to bring about just and compassionate change."

The contact person for bookings in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne is Joanne Marsh - email or telephone: 02 8912 4853.

Death row movie nun backs Richey (BBC 13/2/05)
Dead Man Walking nun set to visit Australia (Edmund Rice Online 10/2/05)

An Invitation from Sister Helen Prejean
'Integrating Justice' Helen Prejean CSJ and Marya Grathwohl OSF: Public lectures and presentations sponsored by the Franciscan Friars and Sisters of St Joseph
Sister Helen Prejean
Kenny Richey campaign
US Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit | Full judgement from US Court of Appeals 6th Circuit
Walking all the way with the condemned (The Age 11/8/03)

Sr Helen Prejean takes up case of sacked Irish soldier (CathNews 3/7/02)

14 Feb 2005