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  June 11, 2014

Do U.S. Soldiers Have Restricted First Amendment Rights?

As Bowe Bergdahl returns to the U.S., conscientious objector Camilo Mejia and civilian attorney James Branum discuss the barriers that exist for soldiers to express their first amendment rights as conscientious objectors
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James M. Branum is a civilian attorney who defends conscientious objectors and war resisters, including several of the servicemembers who have fled to Canada for reasons of conscience but were later deported back to the USA. He is the legal director of the Oklahoma City-based Center for Conscience in Action and the author of US Army AWOL Defense: A Practice Guide.

Camilo Mejia was the first US soldier fighting in Iraq to file an application for conscientious objector status in 2004, in protest of US military treatment of prisoners he describes as war crimes. He is the author of The Road From Ar Ramadi: The Private Rebellion of Sergeant Camilo Mejia. After his release from military prison on charges of desertion in 2005, he was vocally active against the war in Iraq. Mejia was chair of the Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) board of directors from 2008-9.


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