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Canada to deport U.S. Deserter

Good morning, Netizens...

According to the Globe and Mail U.S. army deserter Robin Long is slated to be deported back to his army base in Fort Knox, Ky., Tuesday, which would make him the first resister to the U.S. war effort in Iraq to be sent out of Canada.

Madam Justice Anne Mactavish of the Federal Court of Canada cleared the way for the deportation late Monday, dismissing a last-ditch attempt to delay the process while the 25-year-old pursued further appeals.

A war resister's group in Canada, Vancouver War Resisters Support Campaign, stated in a press release that this “flies in the face of everything Canada has done”. They claim to have knowledge of 50 deserters in Canada, while the Resistance operating out of San Francisco, California states the number of deserters living underground in Canada and other countries actually may run as high as 200 or more.

Mr. Long was actively in the U.S. Army in July, 2003, but fled to Canada in 2005 before moving to British Columbia last summer. Unfortunately, he did not file to become a refugee until September, 2006. His application for refugee status was denied on Feb. 15, 2007. An application for leave to appeal the decision was turned down.

Also unfortunately, he did not apply for conscientious objector status, either in the United States or Canada, which is one of the prerequisites that traditionally has generally stood up under Canadian law. According to the Canadian Court, the vast majority of American deserters have not been prosecuted for desertion, as the judge stated in a four-page decision. About 94 per cent of U.S. deserters from 2002 to 2006 were being dealt with administratively, receiving a less-than-honourable discharge from the military.

Another factor that may have played a role in the Court's decision was Mr. Long was not in court for the hearing Monday. He was in custody at a location outside Vancouver after failing on two previous occasions to report to authorities when he was required. The court in Canada also takes a very dim view of persons slated to appear for hearings who do not show up, which also may play a role in their decision.

(Limited information obtained from The Globe and Mail)

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Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.