Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Friday, July 04, 2008

"US deserter could qualify as refugee," Canadian Press, July 4, 2008.

[This is almost certainly bad news for the Harper government. Just how bad is a matter of speculation tonight. Robin Long was arrested on a Canada-wide warrant by City Police in Nelson tonight, apparently for failure to report to the immigration office in Kelowna. Long's friends insist "he wouldn't do something like that," and that he has repeatedly been turned away and ignored by immigration officers. Protesters outside the jail claim that Long's partner was not allowed to speak with him. -jlt]

The Federal Court has ordered Canada's refugee board to take another look at an American deserter's failed refugee claim.

In a ruling issued Friday, the court found the board had made a mistake in turning down Joshua Key's bid for asylum.

The court found that someone who refuses to take part in military action which "systematically degrades, abuses or humiliates" combatants or non-combatants might qualify as a refugee.

The court also determined that the board should hear evidence on whether deserters like Key can rely on the American government to treat them fairly.

Key served as a combat engineer for eight months in 2003 in Iraq, where he says he was involved in, or witnessed, soldiers committing savage acts against civilians.

While on leave in November 2003, the deeply troubled father of four from Oklahoma decided he could not return to Iraq and fled to Canada.
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