Wednesday, April 29, 2009

US Army Soldier Pleads Guilty to Desertion

Jurist reports that a US Army soldier, Spc. Cliff Cornell, who fled to Canada to avoid serving in the Iraq war has pleaded guilty to charges of desertion. Cornell received a one year prison sentence and an bad conduct discharge.

Cornell spent four years in Canada, but was denied asylum by the Canadian government in February. Canadian advocacy group War Resisters Support Campaign decried Cornell's sentence, calling the Iraq War "illegal and immoral." Cornell had reportedly become actively involved with the group.

Several other US soldiers have sought asylum in Canada. In 2005, US Army Pvt. Brandon Hughey, who fled to Canada after refusing a deployment order to Iraq and deserting his unit at Fort Hood, formally asked the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board for asylum. Hughey's application was denied, and he is currently waiting to find out whether he will be allowed to remain in Canada. Several others are also appealing denials of asylum.

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