British Afghanistan war resister Joe Glenton has been sentenced to nine months imprisonment on charges of absence without leave (AWOL) on 5 March 2010.
Joe Glenton left his unit in 2007, traumatised by a seven month deployment to Afghanistan. While still in the military, he had asked for medical attention because of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) resulting from his deployment to Afghanistan, but his request had been refused brusquely. He had no choice but to leave his unit, but handed himself in two years later after speaking at an anti-war rally.
In November 2009, he was arrested and charged with five counts of "disobeying a lawful order" for speaking at an anti-war demonstration in London on 24 October 2009, and for expressing his opposition to the war in Afghanistan to the media (see co-alert, 11 November 2009).
In December 2009 he was released on bail, under the condition that he would not speak in public. At a preliminary court hearing in February 2010 the charge of disobeying lawful orders was dropped, and the desertion charge was reduced to absence without leave.
Joe Glenton's lawyer assumes that the military reduced the charge to prevent further investigation. Joe Glenton had planned to call an expert to his defense who would have looked into the question whether the war in Afghanistan was in accordance with international law.
Joe Glenton was sentence regardless of having been diagnosed with PTSD.
The hard sentence of Joe Glenton is a clear warning to other soldiers in the UK Armed Forces who oppose the unpopular war in Afghanistan.
- War Resisters' International calls for letters of support to Joe Glenton:
Lance Corporal Joe Glenton
Military Corrective Training Centre
Berechurch Hall Camp
Colchester CO2 9NU
- War Resisters' International calls for letters of protest to the British authorities, and British embassies abroad. An email to defence secretary Bob Ainsworth can be sent at /node/9747.
- War Resisters' International calls for the immediate release of Joe Glenton, and all other imprisoned war resisters.
War Resisters' International