Thursday, March 08, 2007

Conscientious Objector Agustin Aguayo Sentenced to Eight Months

War Resisters' International, London, 07 March 2007
USA: Conscientious objector Agustin Aguayo sentenced to 8 months imprisonment

Yesterday, US conscientious objector Agustin Aguayo (US14915) was sentenced to eight months imprisonment by a US court martial in Würzburg, Germany. Aguayo had been charged with desertion and missing movement of his unit. Besides being sentenced to eight months imprisonment, the court martial also ordered his degradation and a dishonourable discharge.

For almost three years, Aguayo tried to be recognised and discharged as conscientious objector - without success. On 1 September 2006, he refused to deploy with his
unit to Iraq, and fled from the military barracks inSchweinfurt, where he was serving as a medic. He presented himself on 26 September, and was imprisoned immediately.

During the trial, Agustin Aguayo again stated his conscientious objection, which lead him to go absent without leave to avoid being forced to deploy to Iraq. However, he
denied that he intended to desert.

The prosecution demanded 30 months of imprisonment, to deter other soldiers from choosing a similar path of action.

With the sentencing of Agustin Aguayo for desertion and missing movement of his unit, the court martial denied him his right to conscientious objection, as enshrined in
Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The fact that AgustinAguayo was not able to get a discharge as conscientious objector, and was forced to go AWOL, highlights the inadequateness of the US military procedures for conscientious objectors, which again and again force COs to commit military offences, and spent time in prison.

Luckily for Aguayo, the court martial counts the time he already spent in prison since 26 September 2006. This means Aguayo will have to serve about 40 more days, and will be released in mid-April.

War Resisters' International calls for letters/emails of support to Agustín Aguayo -- email (will be forward to him via mail) augie@aguayodefense.org.

War Resisters' International calls for letters of protest to the US authorities, or US embassies abroad. A protest email to US President George W. Bush can be sent at http://wri-irg.org/co/alerts/20070307a.html.

War Resisters' International calls for the immediate release of Agustin Aguayo and all other imprisoned conscientious objectors.

Andreas Speck
War Resisters' International

Archives of co-alert can be found at http://wri-irg.org/news/alerts

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