WAILUKU - Three members of a Native Hawaiian sovereignty group were each ordered to perform 25 hours of community service after being found guilty Friday of illegally entering the Kahoolawe Island Reserve in 2006.
But Wailuku District Judge Simone C. Polak stayed the sentences, which included payment of court fees and costs, for 30 days pending an appeal.
Henry Noa, 53, of Honolulu, and Maui residents Russell Kaho'okele, 46, and Nelson Armitage, 50, were arrested after Reinstated Hawaiian Kingdom members sailed in two boats to Kahoolawe to plant a flag laying claim to the uninhabited island on Sept. 30, 2006.
At the time, the group's prime minister, Noa, said that the group was reclaiming lands "that lawfully belong to our Hawaiian nation."
About 50 people showed up for the hearing Friday morning, which followed earlier hearings on whether the state has jurisdiction over the island. Polak found the three defendants guilty of the petty misdemeanor charge.
Kaho'okele said an appeal is planned.
"We realize that this case is not going to end here," he said, speaking for himself after the decision. "We may not have gotten the ruling we were hoping for, but the fact that we're in the fight is all that matters to us. It's a spiritual fight. We want to have our rights respected under the law."