Army Deserters Denied Asylum; Court Says Soldiers Didn't Seek Way out in U.S

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), November 16, 2007 | Go to article overview

Army Deserters Denied Asylum; Court Says Soldiers Didn't Seek Way out in U.S


Byline: Barry Brown, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

TORONTO - Canada's Supreme Court yesterday rejected an appeal for asylum by two U.S. Army deserters, a ruling expected to block Iraq war deserters from finding a safe haven here as they did during the Vietnam War.

Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey both fled their military service and entered Canada in 2004, hoping to find the same refuge as an earlier generation.

Canada's Supreme Court gave no reason for refusing to hear the case, but both men were rejected as refugees in 2005 by the country's Immigration and Refugee Board.

The board ruled the men's lives would not be at risk if they returned to the U.S., nor would they face "cruel and unusual treatment or punishment."

The men's other legal appeals also failed, including one saying they were morally opposed to wars not sanctioned by the United Nations.

The Federal Court of Appeal said refugee protection is not available to those who - like the two Americans - did not adequately attempt to find a way out of their problems through available protections in their home country.

Karen Shadd-Evelyn, a spokeswoman for Canada's department of Immigration and Citizenship, said that since the Iraq war began, only 35 Americans have sought refugee status to escape military service.

"Five of those were heard in public, and they were all rejected," she said. …

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