USA: War resister Justin Colby imprisoned
Justin Colby - a member of the US military who developed a conscientious objection during a deployment in Iraq - has been sentenced to 15 months in prison (reduced to 9 months as a result of a plea agreement).
Justin was humiliated and punished by a commanding officer when he asked to apply for conscientious objector status. He went AWOL because he refused to be deployed a second time to Iraq, and fled to Canada in 2006.
He is extremely critical of the US army's operations in Iraq - particularly the activities of medical teams, who he describes as using patients for 'practice'. More information can be found through Courage to Resist, here. Simultaneously, Justin's family situation meant that he wanted to leave the army and stay in the USA. These factors combined led to Justin's decision to go to Canada.
Ignoring international standards
The right to refuse to perform military service for reasons of conscience is part of freedom of thought, conscience and religion, as recognised in Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which the United States of America is a state party.
This includes those who have joined the armed forces voluntarily, since the freedom to change one's religion or belief is recognised in Article 18 (1) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. This was also specified in the Human Rights Committee General Comment 22, paragraph 5.
What you can do
War Resisters' International calls for protest letters to the US authorities - you can do that via the email form here - /node/21540 - please also write to Joseph Anderson, Commander of Fort Carson where Justin is imprisoned. His contact details are:
Commander, Fort Carson:
Major General Joseph Anderson
Public Affairs Office
1626 Ellis Street
Ste. 200, Bldg.118
Fort Carson, CO 80913, USA
Fax: 1 719 526 1021
War Resisters' International calls for the immediate release of Justin Colby.
War Resisters' International