Clemency for Kimberly Rivera
Use this form to send the letter below to the relevant authority (President Barack Obama). 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 Obama,
Conscientious objector Kimberley Rivera has just given birth to a baby. Even after 495 letters from around the world, Fort Carson Senior Commander Brigadier General Michael A. Bills denied requests for clemency for Kimberly.
If you do not intervene, she will be forced to immediately relinquish custody of her son while she continues to serve the remainder of her sentence.
Kimberly Rivera was sentenced to 14 months in military prison after publicly expressing her conscientious objection to the Iraq War while in Canada.
She has repeatedly spoken out against the Iraq War. As her lawyer says, "Because she spoke out against the Iraq War, Kim’s sentence is harsher than the punishment given to 94 percent of deserters who are not punished but administratively discharged." Kimberly is now the mother of five children.
She fled to Canada between deployments in 2007 having become convinced of the wrongfulness of the war in Iraq. She was not made aware of the opportunity to apply for conscientious objector status by the army Chaplain she visited in Iraq to discuss the fact that she had decided that she could not take a life.
May I remind you that 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.
I urge you to immediately release Kimberly Rivera.