Sentencing of conscientious objector Michael Lyons
Use this form to send the letter below to the relevant authority (Minister of Defence Liam Fox). 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 Liam Fox,
I have been informed of the sentencing of Michael Lyons to seven months' detention for "disobeying a lawful order" by the Military Court in Portsmouth on 5 July 2011. I am very concerned about this sentence.
Michael Lyons joined the Royal Navy in 2005 as a medic. In 2010, he applied for a discharge as a conscientious objector, but although this application was supported by his Commanding Officer, it was rejected. While his appeal to the Advisory Committee on Conscientious Objection was pending, he was sent on an advanced rifle training course as a pre-deployment training for Afghanistan. There, he was basically trapped with an order to draw a weapon and commence weapon training - an order he felt unable to obey.
In December 2010 his appeal was finally heard by ACCO, and rejected. However, up to today he has not been informed through any official channels of your decision to either accept or reject ACCO's recommendation.
Today, Michael Lyons was sentenced to seven months' detention, a reduction in rank and dismissal from the Royal Navy.
I am shocked by this harsh and inhuman sentence for a medic and conscientious objector who could not do otherwise. The United Kingdom does not only recognise the right to conscientious objection - which was denied to Michael Lyons - but also freedom of conscience.
I urge you to respect Michael Lyons freedom of conscience and to commute or annul the sentence.