FRANKFURT (Reuters) – A U.S. soldier who deserted his unit to avoid returning to Iraq has applied for asylum in Germany, saying the Iraq war was illegal and that he could not support the "heinous acts" taking place.

Andre Shepherd, 31, who served in Iraq between September 2004 and February 2005 as an Apache helicopter mechanic in the 412th Aviation Support Battalion, has been living in Germany since deserting last year.

"When I read and heard about people being ripped to shreds from machine guns or being blown to bits by the Hellfire missiles I began to feel ashamed about what I was doing," Shepherd told a Frankfurt news conference Thursday.

"I could not in good conscience continue to serve."

Shepherd, originally from Cleveland, Ohio and ranked as an army specialist, applied for asylum in Germany Wednesday, said Tim Huber from the Military Counseling Network, a non-military group which is assisting him.

According to U.S. law, soldiers who desert during a time of war can face the death penalty.

The soldier said he was particularly hopeful he would be granted asylum in Germany, a staunch opponent of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, due to the legacy of the post-war trials of Nazi officials, notably in Nuremberg in 1945-1949.

"Here in Germany it was established that everyone, even a soldier, must take responsibility for his or her actions, no matter how many superiors are giving orders," he said.

Shepherd, who enlisted in January 2004, is only the second U.S. soldier to have applied to Germany for asylum "in a similar situation," said Claudia Moebus from the government's department for migration. The earlier application was later withdrawn.

The specialist was posted to Germany in 2005 where he undertook desk jobs, but he gradually began questioning the justification for the Iraq war and began worrying he would be sent back to serve there, said Huber.

"That's when he went AWOL," he added.

Earlier this year, Jeremy Hinzman, an American who applied for refugee status in Canada after deserting the U.S. Army when he received orders to go to Iraq, said he would appeal a deportation order returning him to the United States.

Another U.S. deserter, Robin Long, was deported from Canada in July and sent to jail in Colorado.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/200...germany_asylum_usa_1
Original Post
BERLIN A U.S. soldier who went AWOL after serving in Iraq made his case to the German government Wednesday that he should be given asylum because of his opposition to that war.

U.S. Army Spc. Andre Shepherd walked off his unit's Katterbach base in April 2007 after returning from a six-month tour maintaining Apache helicopters in Tikrit. He said he deserted because he didn't want to return to an illegal conflict.

"We were completely lied to," he said of his fellow soldiers in the Army's 12th combat aviation brigade.

Shepherd was among 71 Army soldiers to desert European bases in 2008, but he is the first known to have sought asylum in Germany. His success could open a new door for soldiers looking to escape the military, his supporters say. But rejection could find him handed over to military authorities, or deported to the U.S.

"Since we're in uncharted waters and the opponent is the United States of America, anything can happen," said Shepherd, of Cleveland, Ohio.

At the closed-door hearing in Karlsruhe, he presented his case to the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees. The hearing lasted all day and a decision will likely take months.

Shepherd, 31, said Germany should grant him asylum because of the country's vocal opposition to the conflict in Iraq during the run-up to the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

He also pointed to a 2004 European Union directive that established basic guidelines for refugee status within the 27-nation organization. Soldiers who face punishment for refusing to commit a war crime or serve in an unlawful conflict are to be granted that status, the directive says.

Claudia Moebus, a spokeswoman for the refugee office, said the EU directive was incorporated into German law in 2007 but would not comment on how it might be applied in Shepherd's case. She said the office will investigate the merit of Shepherd's claim before issuing a decision.

Moebus would not disclose how many of the 22,085 asylum applications submitted in Germany last year came from U.S. citizens.

"It's so few that I can't say due to data privacy laws," Moebus said.

U.S. Army Europe spokesman Bruce Anderson said Shepherd was the first soldier known to have sought asylum here.

The Army informed German authorities that Shepherd was absent without leave, Anderson said, but it does not actively pursue deserters. But he said Shepherd could face prosecution and jail time if he were deported or returned to military authorities.

"His case would be handled as would every other deserter returned to U.S. custody, in accordance with applicable laws and regulations and on its own merits," Anderson said.

After deserting, Shepherd lived with friends and supporters in southern Germany before applying for asylum last November. Lately he has been sleeping in a refugee center in Karlsruhe.

Tim Huber, director of the Military Counseling Network, a German-based group helping Shepherd with his legal fees, said he has received calls from other U.S. service members, but that Shepherd is the first to formally file for asylum.
http://www.charlotteobserver.c...ld/story/515246.html
I really hope that he will be successful. And there would be some irony, occupying forces are at the same time refugees.

--------------

Andre Shepherd, 31, attended a nine-hour hearing on Thursday in the German city of Karlsruhe to explain why he deserted upon being recalled to service in Iraq. Shepherd says his decision was based on a profound moral objection to the US-led invasion which he called a "completely illegal war."

Shepherd's lawyer, Reinhard Marx, said after leaving the court that the hearing was just a "fact-finding exercise."

"So Mr. Shepherd was questioned about his situation as a soldier, about his motivation to join the army and how he decided to leave the army."

Marx said his client was also quizzed about the grounds on which a US soldier could claim conscientious objector status.

Shepherd was posted in Iraq between September 2004 and February 2005. He worked servicing Apache helicopters attached to the 412th Aviation Support Battalion. After the five-month stint he was relocated to a US army base in southern Germany.

In spring 2007 the US army recalled Shepherd, who then took the decision to desert rather than be sent back to the Middle East. He then spent the next 19 months evading US army officials before seeking asylum from the German government in November last year.

Shepherd 'had no choice'

An immigration office in Nuremberg is to examine Shepherd's case, with Germany's Interior Ministry to deliver a verdict on the matter in three to four months' time, Marx said.

"It is in their hand now … we are very confident," he said. "I found it was very clear that he was in a situation where he had no other choice: he had to go to Iraq or he had to leave the army illegally."

Shepherd has said he would appeal any decision that went against him. "I will definitely fight on, as I don't believe I or anyone else should be prosecuted for doing what they think is right," he said prior to the Karlsruhe hearing.

The Interior Ministry, meanwhile, would not elaborate on events during the hearing, saying only that Shepherd's case would be broadly examined.

US wary of precedent

The Cleveland, Ohio, man is the first US army deserter to seek asylum in Germany. The political ramifications that could follow if Shepherd is successful in his claim are cause for concern for the US as the country has some 80,000 troops stationed in Germany.

Tim Huber from the Military Counseling Network, a non-military organization advising soldiers of their rights, said the case could set a precedent for other US soldiers unwilling to return to Iraq.

"There would not be a whole lot stopping US soldiers walking off their bases," to claim asylum, he said.
http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,4005756,00.html
a crime is a crime and any person must have the right to refuse to commit a crime. And I hope that people outside America won't forget the invasion of Iraq based on lies and I also hope that German courts make the only correct decision, to grant asylum to Shepherd, who else knows better, what "following orders" can lead to than Germany. The world would need more couragous soldiers who just say no. The world would be a better place.
QUOTE" "That's when he went AWOL," he added."

That's the catch.

Asylum will not be granted becuase of his going AWOL (Away Without Leave) or in military jargon, A-W-O-Loose.

If he had gone to the Germans and requested asylum will still on active duty with his unit then maybe it might work but he went AWOL and the AWOL charge is what he will be proscuted for, not trying to get asylum. They may add that as an additional charge but it's not really necessary.

Army Specialist Andre Shepherd is probably in hiding right now (if he has been AWOL for more than 30 days) and the Germans cannot do anything to help him if he gets caught for any reason by the German authoirties, the U.S. Army authorities or where ever in the world he may be.

After 30 days of being AWOL, your name is placed in a worldwide database by the military with all federal agencies around the world.

All it takes is a tip from someone, a traffic violation or arrest anywhere and he will be arrested and returned to his unit for punishment.

Good idea, won't work.

He's bascially screwed. td6
this is one appeal to the German government:

U.S. AWOL André Shepherd needs asylum !

On November 26, 2008, AWOL U.S. soldier André Shepherd applied for asylum in Germany. His tour of duty as a U.S. soldier in Iraq made him convinced that he could no longer participate in a war which breaks international law, or in actions that go against international human rights codes. Since he could not see any possibility of being recognized as a conscientious objector, he went AWOL and applied for asylum in Germany. In his appliction he refers justifiably to the European Union Directive for Qualification which have been in force since October, 2006. This Directive protects anyone who is compelled to withdraw from an illegal war or an illegal act within war and would expect prosecution.
If a soldier wants to observe international law in the Iraq War, he can come to only one conclusion: he has the duty to refuse to follow orders. In view of threatening criminal prosecution this is a courageous step. Therefore we appeal to you, grant André Shepherd asylum, thereby providing him the protection he needs.
https://sslsites.de/www.connec...de/en_aktion-usa.php
quote:
Originally posted by listener:
Time will tell and EU law differs from American law I guess. He gets lot of support in Germany, petitions to the government, collecting money for his legal support.

------------------------------------------------

He went and still is AWOL. A direct military violation.

Going AWOL, a violation of the Uniform Code Of Military Justice (UCMJ) cancels out everything else. Announcing this only makes it easier for the Army to find and arrest him.

The Germans cannot help him and private/public support/funding will not matter in this case.

The U.S. Army have jurisdiction and will win this and the Germans will comply. He will be returned to his unit, given solitary confinement (he is now deemed a flight risk) given a military trial on military soil, found guilty and sent directly to prison.

It's just a matter of time and as you said, time will tell but it will tell in the Army's favor.

He is a soldier who went AWOL during wartime and he is not the only one so his circumstance has no special merit. Bad move on his behalf going AWOL, that is. The asylum thing? Just a "trying to be slick" add-on and has no merit.

Compassion does not and will not work here.

This guy has no chance. spank

Can we all say "Fort Levenworth? ek"
yes perhaps you are right, America also executes innocent people. Nonetheless I hope that he will be successful. America wants change. It is time now that America not only talks about it, but actually lives it, nobody wants to listen to American empty phrases any more.
quote:
Originally posted by listener:
a crime is a crime and any person must have the right to refuse to commit a crime. And I hope that people outside America won't forget the invasion of Iraq based on lies and I also hope that German courts make the only correct decision, to grant asylum to Shepherd, who else knows better, what "following orders" can lead to than Germany. The world would need more couragous soldiers who just say no. The world would be a better place.


The loser had plenty of time to declare his intentions once operations started, so he gets no sympathy. If you want him keep him.

By the way our POTUS is looking for some place to put the people from Guantanamo; interested? flowers
lol
quote:
Originally posted by listener:
yes perhaps you are right, America also executes innocent people. Nonetheless I hope that he will be successful. America wants change. It is time now that America not only talks about it, but actually lives it, nobody wants to listen to American empty phrases any more.

------------------------------------------------
The main issue here is that this guy signed up for the Army, probably one of those citizens right after 911 who wanted payback or to serve their country in a noble way (just like that pro-football player who was killed: Pat Tillman) due to the attacks and he joined the Army with no sense of what he was getting into.

Went through basic training, AIT and then reality: off to Iraq.

Then the reality hit.

Now he wants out and he thought that going AWOL in a foreign country (outside of his military unit) will work for him and that the Germans will support him and will grant him asylum.

That worked during Vietnam. Not now. The Army solved that border problem before the war started.

He is not a political prisoner, being held against his will or is he innocent.

He signed up for this, under contract and he is under the military "Stop Loss" policy, which states that until combat operations are officially ceased or suspended, no military members will be able to resign their committment or retire from the military service.
quote:
Originally posted by listener:
a crime is a crime and any person must have the right to refuse to commit a crime. And I hope that people outside America won't forget the invasion of Iraq based on lies and I also hope that German courts make the only correct decision, to grant asylum to Shepherd, who else knows better, what "following orders" can lead to than Germany. The world would need more couragous soldiers who just say no. The world would be a better place.


yeah
quote:
Originally posted by Cholly:
quote:
Originally posted by listener:
Time will tell and EU law differs from American law I guess. He gets lot of support in Germany, petitions to the government, collecting money for his legal support.

------------------------------------------------

He went and still is AWOL. A direct military violation.

Going AWOL, a violation of the Uniform Code Of Military Justice (UCMJ) cancels out everything else. Announcing this only makes it easier for the Army to find and arrest him.

The Germans cannot help him and private/public support/funding will not matter in this case.

The U.S. Army have jurisdiction and will win this and the Germans will comply. He will be returned to his unit, given solitary confinement (he is now deemed a flight risk) given a military trial on military soil, found guilty and sent directly to prison.

It's just a matter of time and as you said, time will tell but it will tell in the Army's favor.

He is a soldier who went AWOL during wartime and he is not the only one so his circumstance has no special merit. Bad move on his behalf going AWOL, that is. The asylum thing? Just a "trying to be slick" add-on and has no merit.

Compassion does not and will not work here.

This guy has no chance. spank

Can we all say "Fort Levenworth? ek"


He isn't "here".

Unless he is actually on US soil, it is not clear what authority that the US government would even have to attempt an arrest on its own. They can request extradition like everybody else.

Does the US military own the entire world?

How much of the world would you like to claim ownership over?

Besides, what exactly is wrong with compassion? Has compassion now become a value that we oppose out of principle?

Personally, I'm all in favor of compassion. Seems like a good idea whose time has come. Compassion is part of the change that we need.
quote:
Originally posted by ricardomath:
quote:
Originally posted by Cholly:
quote:
Originally posted by listener:
Time will tell and EU law differs from American law I guess. He gets lot of support in Germany, petitions to the government, collecting money for his legal support.

------------------------------------------------

He went and still is AWOL. A direct military violation.

Going AWOL, a violation of the Uniform Code Of Military Justice (UCMJ) cancels out everything else. Announcing this only makes it easier for the Army to find and arrest him.

The Germans cannot help him and private/public support/funding will not matter in this case.

The U.S. Army have jurisdiction and will win this and the Germans will comply. He will be returned to his unit, given solitary confinement (he is now deemed a flight risk) given a military trial on military soil, found guilty and sent directly to prison.

It's just a matter of time and as you said, time will tell but it will tell in the Army's favor.

He is a soldier who went AWOL during wartime and he is not the only one so his circumstance has no special merit. Bad move on his behalf going AWOL, that is. The asylum thing? Just a "trying to be slick" add-on and has no merit.

Compassion does not and will not work here.

This guy has no chance. spank

Can we all say "Fort Levenworth? ek"


He isn't "here".

Unless he is actually on US soil, it is not clear what authority that the US government would even have to attempt an arrest on its own. They can request extradition like everybody else.

Does the US military own the entire world?

How much of the world would you like to claim ownership over?

Besides, what exactly is wrong with compassion? Has compassion now become a value that we oppose out of principle?

Personally, I'm all in favor of compassion. Seems like a good idea whose time has come. Compassion is part of the change that we need.

------------------------------------------------
The law does not differ. He is under full military law and the EU will not stand in the Army's way. Many soldiers have tried to beat the system and they have all lost.

There is nothing wrong with the way the military justice system handles it's soldiers and this case will not change anything or change it's long standing relationship between the military, it's laws and it's host country..

Keep in mind, all issues are specifically with the Iraq War and how it was waged and not the military itself and how it governs it's soldiers.

A military installation anywhere in the world is by law and provisioned by the host country, whether bought or leased land, as U.S. occupied soil.

That's Makes Him "Here".

In this particular case, the military does own the world and this young soldier is just like the millions of soldiers who have went AWOL in the past; running away from their responsibilites and duties assigned to him during wartime while others are fighting, getting severely wounded & dying.

And just like the rest of them, he will be caught, charged and proscuted.

Asylum? It's a joke of a defense.

And the worst part? He was not even in combat. not a combat soldier and probably never fired a weapon at the enemy. He is service support personnel sitting behind a desk located hundreds of miles away from the front lines all the way in the rear with the gear!!

There is no compassion for this sorry azz, punk azz coward of a soldier.

I hope that they finally catch his punk azz (which will be only a matter of time) proscute him and send to The Fort Levenworth Prison in Levenworth, Kansas. tfro

There is no escape for this soldier and all the outcry, support and compassion in the world will not save him.

He should have realized what he was getting himself into before he went to the recruiting station and signed up!

Now he will be soon be off to prison. karate

Don't drop the soap!! karate 20 karate
quote:
The loser had plenty of time to declare his intentions once operations started, so he gets no sympathy. If you want him keep him.

By the way our POTUS is looking for some place to put the people from Guantanamo; interested?


Do you actually believe that soldiers should continue with illegal wars just because the former American president wanted this war?
And because of Guantanamo which became a symbol about the real face of America, there are already talks here in Germany, I posted some articles on AA.org.
About 1 million people of Iraq died in consequence of this war based on lies, but yes I know, for most Americans this doesn't count. Violating human rights, using torture, all this doesn't count as long as it doesn't affect you.
And in addition Ocatchings, when it comes to label people or organizations "terrorists", the ANC once was on America's terrorist list. Would you agree that people who fight against Apartheid and deadly discrimination in their own country are terrorists? Do you think that America is right, just because America has the power to make the definitions?
Listener,

It’s not about America being right or wrong. It is about a solider who SIGNED up to be in the military. He was not forced to be in the military, he VOLUNTEERED to be the PROPERTY OF THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT. He should go to prison for his AWOL stunt. Do I think the war is just? No I don’t, but I do believe that the soldiers should continue with illegal wars because they signed up to follow orders and wherever those orders send them.
I do not believe in blind obedience and just because the laws are that way makes obedience and laws not correct. The deaths of Iraqis are real because of this illegal war and everybody with a conscience must have the right to refuse obedience to insane orders.
When a soldier changes his mind about a certain war and also realizes that he was lied to, he does have the right to say no.
For Germany his case is also the question to Germany how seriously we are opposed to the war and how much backbone we have and how much we have learned from our own history, where Germans "blind obedience" during Nazi-Germany is criticized by the rest of the world. Bush demonstrated how easy it is to invade a souvereign nation, an enemy fabricated. Bush and his clique won't suffer the consequences, but ordinary people throughout the world will. History will repeat itself until enough people will finally have the courage to say no.

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