Canada Denies Refugee Status to American Soldier

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by MacNut, Mar 25, 2005.

  1. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

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    Canada Denies Refugee Status to American Soldier
    Ruling Seen as Blow to Other Deserters in Iraq War
    By BETH DUFF-BROWN, AP


    TORONTO (March 25) - A U.S. Army paratrooper who refused to fight in Iraq has found no refuge north of the border.

    Jeremy Hinzman was denied political asylum in Canada on Thursday, a ruling that dealt a blow to other deserters here who argue such duty would force them to commit atrocities against civilians.

    An immigration board ruled that Hinzman had not convinced its members he would face persecution or cruel and unusual punishment if returned to the United States.

    Seven other American military personnel have applied for refugee status, and Hinzman's lawyer estimated dozens of others are in hiding in Canada waiting to see how the government ruled. The attorney, Jeffry House, said Hinzman would appeal the ruling.

    House said at a news conference that the Immigration and Refugee Board had not allowed him to argue that the war in Iraq is illegal and would make that complaint before a federal appeals court.

    He said there were many problems with the ruling, describing it as filled with ''deference'' to the United States.

    Immigration and Refugee Board member Brian Goodman, who wrote the ruling, said Hinzman might face some employment and social discrimination. But ''the treatment does not amount to a violation of a fundamental human right, and the harm is not serious,'' he wrote.

    Canada has long opposed American wars; former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau declared his homeland ''a refuge from militarism'' during the Vietnam War and allowed the 30,000 to 50,000 American draft dodgers to settle here. Ottawa also opposed the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, but is also seeking to ease badly strained relations between the two governments.

    Hinzman could face charges of desertion if sent home and would face up to five years in prison. He and seven other U.S. military deserters are being represented by House, a Wisconsin native who came to Canada in 1970 to avoid the draft during the Vietnam War.

    The Pentagon has urged the deserters to return to the United States and take up their concerns at their respective military bases.
    "I left for Iraq with a purpose, thinking this was another Hitler deal. But there were no weapons of mass destruction."

    ''We are an Army serving a nation at war,'' the Army said in a statement after Thursday's ruling. ''Each of us volunteered to serve, and the vast majority serve honorably. AWOL and desertion are crimes that go against Army values, degrade unit readiness and, in a time of war, may put the lives of other soldiers at risk.''

    Hinzman, 26, lives with his wife and young son in Toronto, where Quakers and the War Resisters coalition of anti-war groups have taken on his cause and provided some shelter.

    Currently a bicycle messenger, Hinzman told an anti-war rally after the announcement that he would continue to fight for his right to remain in Canada, as well as the seven other young men seeking refugee status.

    ''Canada has a history for being a haven for people of conscience,'' he said. ''Hopefully that legacy will continue.''

    He fled from Fort Bragg, N.C., in January 2004, weeks before his 82nd Airborne Division was due to go to Iraq. He had served three years in the Army, but had applied for conscientious objector status before his unit was sent to Afghanistan in 2002.

    Hinzman argued before the board in December that he would have had to take part in war crimes if he went to Iraq, saying the war there is illegal. He said he would be persecuted if forced to return to the United States.

    Hinzman's lawyer estimated as many as 100 American war resisters are hiding in Canada, waiting to see how Hinzman's case is played out before coming forward.

    During the Vietnam era, young American men could be drafted into military service, but now enlistment in U.S. military is voluntary. The military attracts many young recruits with job skills training and programs that help pay for university.
     
  2. Xtremehkr macrumors 68000

    Xtremehkr

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    The war in Iraq was based on lies and there have been thousands and thousands of people killed over there based on those lies. I can't say I blame him. I'm a little disappointed about Canada though.
     
  3. MacNut thread starter macrumors Core

    MacNut

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    If he didn't want to serve than why did he sign up, he wasn't forced into the Army. It is always a risk of going to war, what did he expect.
     
  4. MacNut thread starter macrumors Core

    MacNut

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    Thousands have been killed but what about the other hundreds of thousands that are doing good work over there to help the Iraqis nothing is said about them.
     
  5. Xtremehkr macrumors 68000

    Xtremehkr

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    Did you miss the part about it being a war based on lies and deceit?

    He did not sign up to invade soverign nations based on lies and deceit.

    Like I did not when I did my service. It was for a better President though.
     
  6. MacNut thread starter macrumors Core

    MacNut

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    #6
    So Iraq was perfectly fine with Sadam killing his own people?
     
  7. Xtremehkr macrumors 68000

    Xtremehkr

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    #7
    More have been killed through our actions.

    If we are so concerned about what Dictators do we should stop installing them.
     
  8. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

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    #8
    We were all told that it was WMD...
     
  9. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #9
    a world w/ so many shades of grey is no place for such black and white thinking.
     
  10. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

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    Not with the spin machines coming from both parties. A Sad War and we went in because the administration was dead set on it. They didnt care they had no facts. All they needed was a excuse. I wouldnt want my son risking his life for Bush's B.S. he still hasnt done one thing about the Mexican border yet we are throwing away young lives and billions of tax dollars. If he was really interested in this war of his he would have done something about our borders. This tells me it is a lie.
     

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