US AWOL soldier Andre Shepherd denied political asylum in Germany


The German Federal Bureau of Migration and Refugees denied the
asylum application of US AWOL soldier Andre Shepherd, Connection e.V.
reported. In its negative decision, the Federal Bureau writes, “But
whether the helicopters he maintained and their crews actually
participated in specific illegal actions (contrary to international
law) has neither been stated sufficiently, nor can it be determined
specifically otherwise. According to the applicant’s statements, he
himself was also not able, during his first Iraq deployment, to find
out details on the missions of the helicopters serviced by him or his
unit. Accordingly, the applicant’s deliberations on the potential
participation of ‘his’ helicopters in possible illegal acts and war
crimes constitute at most conjectures or a hypothetical possibility.

Peace and refugee-aid organisations in Germany that support André
Shepherd denounced the decision of the Federal Bureau, and announced
that they would continue to support him in his suit. “This shows
that the German authorities are seeking to avoid any conflict with the
USA, at the expense of those who put their bodies on the line to oppose
the war in Iraq, which even the Federal government at the time
considered to be in violation of international law,
” said Rudi
Friedrich of the support network for conscientious objectors,
Connection e.V., today. Attorney-at-law Reinhard Marx stated: “With
this rejection and its interpretation of the EU Qualification
Directive, which is contrary to European law, the Federal Bureau is
attempting to destroy the protection for deserters and conscientious
objectors envisaged by the Directive. The background for this is
obviously the intention of the German government to give priority to
German legal principles over European law.

André Shepherd himself showed himself to be disappointed, but also
willing to keep up the struggle. “I hoped that the Federal Bureau of
Migration itself would accept my application for political asylum. I am
still not willing to participate in a crime against humanity, and
consider it my right to do so without threat of prosecution. The U.S.
military gave me no choice but to go AWOL and seek protection here in

Andre Shepherd will lodge an appeal against the decision of the Federal
Bureau, denying him asylum in Germany.

Sources: New York Times: American
Soldier Is Denied Asylum in Germany
, 5 April 2011; Connection e.V.: U.S. AWOL soldier Shepherd appeals against the rejection of his application for political asylum, 7 April 2011


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