Canada refuses to allow Iraq war resister to stay

warresister

US Sergeant Corey Glass is now the first Iraq war deserter facing deportation from Canada. Last week his application to stay in the country was rejected. Lee Zaslofsky, National Coordinator of The War Resisters Campaign in Canada, says Corey’s case is not unique. In December 2007, The Canadian House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration passed a motion calling on the Canadian government to implement a program allowing conscientious objectors to apply for permanent residence in Canada, and to cease any removal or deportation actions applied to such individuals. The motion has not yet been passed by Parliament. Toronto lawyer Jeffrey House says the court system does not allow soldiers to question the illegality of the war, and as such the"main argument" and the "main reason" that US soldiers put forward in refusing to continue fighting in Iraq, is being kept out of the court system.

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Story Transcript

(CLIP BEGINS)

May 21, 2008

SGT. COREY GLASS, US WAR RESISTER: And I don’t think it’s fair that I should be returned to the United States to face unjust punishment for doing what I felt morally obligated to do.

(CLIP ENDS)

ZAA NKWETA, PRODUCER/PRESENTER: Following a two-year battle to remain in Canada, United States Sergeant Corey Glass became the first Iraq war deserter facing deportation from Canada. Last week, his application to remain in the country was rejected.

(CLIP BEGINS)

GLASS: I appeal to the Canadian people and the Canadian government to honor their tradition of respect for human rights and support my decision to participate in this unjust war.

(CLIP ENDS)

Corey joined the US National Guard in 2002. His aim: to do humanitarian work within the United States. Lee Zaslofsky, a Vietnam war deserter and coordinator of the War Resisters Support Campaign, says Corey’s case is not unique.

LEE ZASLOFSKY, VIETNAM WAR DESERTER: We have chapters across Canada. We have war resisters located in various parts of the country, and we’re very worried that they’ll be getting these decisions very shortly. And those people could be in line for deportation within the next month or two.

NKWETA: Corey’s case was rejected by Citizenship and Immigration Canada, which concluded that if removed from the country, he would not face an immediate risk of death, torture, or cruel and unusual punishment. Last year, the Canadian House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration passed a motion calling on the Canadian government to allow war resisters like Corey the provision to stay in the country without facing deportation. The motion has not yet been passed by Parliament. Toronto lawyer Jeffrey House outlines the legal battle soldiers like Corey now face.

JEFFREY HOUSE, TORONTO LAWYER: A soldier discovers the war is illegal, and then he or she doesn’t want to participate in it. If they go back to the United States, they’re treated as deserters, and they can’t argue, "Oh, this is an illegal war." The courts have said you’re not able to raise such a complicated question. And so a main argument and a main reason why these soldiers have refused to fight on honorable grounds is being kept out of the court system—it tears the heart out of the argument.

NKWETA: Glass is expected to leave the country on June 12. He is appealing the decision. According to Courage to Resist, at least 30 soldiers have been imprisoned for refusing to fight in the Iraq war.

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