Conscientious objector Tony Anderson
Use this form to send the letter below to the relevant authority (President George W Bush). You can add your own notes in a separate box after the standard text, if you wish. You must include a name, address, and email address; a copy will be sent to you with a cc to the WRI office (so we have a record of how many email letters have been sent out for this particular case).
Dear President George W Bush!
I am very concerned about the sentencing of conscientious objector Tony Anderson, who was sentenced on 17 November 2008 to 22 months - one of the longest sentences given to an Iraq war resister.
Tony Anderson was discouraged to file for conscientious objector status by his commanding officers, who told him that it would not be possible for him to obtain, and even falsely informed him that he was "not the right religion." Anderson was led to believe that filing a C.O. application would be futile.
When he was ordered to deploy to Iraq on 1 July 2008, he went AWOL just hours before boarding his flight, eventually turning himself in after 22 days in hopes of diminishing the severity of his punishment. On his return, Anderson was again ordered to deploy to Iraq immediately. This time, he simply refused.
The United States recognises the human right to conscientious objection in principle, but in practice many conscientious objectors are denied to exercise their right, and are sentenced by military courts instead - just as has happened to Robin Long. This in practice is a violation of their human right to conscientious objection.
The United Nations Human Rights Committee recognised in a decision from January 2007 the right to conscientious objection as a legitimate exercise of the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion, as guaranteed by Article 18 ICCPR. In fact, in this decision on two cases of conscientious objectors from South Korea, the Human Rights Committee stated that not to provide for the right to conscientious objection is a violation of Article 18 ICCPR (see CCPR/C/88/D/1321-1322/2004 from 23 January 2007).
I therefore urge you to immediately release Tony Anderson, and all imprisoned conscientious objectors. I urge you to respect human rights.