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UK court-martial begins for Iraq war objector

[JURIST] A medical officer in the UK's Royal Air Force [official website] has pleaded not guilty to charges that he failed to comply with a legal order [JURIST report] for refusing to return to Iraq for a third tour of duty. Flight Lieutenant Malcolm Kendall-Smith [Wikipedia profile], who has dual British and New Zealand citizenship, refused to go back to Iraq because he felt Britain's participation in the war was illegal [JURIST report] since Iraq had not attacked the UK or one of its allies. Judge Advocate Jack Bayliss is presiding over Kendall-Smith's court-martial [JURIST report], which began Tuesday, and ruled that the doctor should face trial for the five charges against him because the orders were lawful.

Bayliss said that four of the charges were actually related to pre-deployment activities common to any tour of duty, including helmet fitting and pistol and rifle training. The judge advocate also said that the UK military was legally in Iraq under UN resolutions at the time Kendall-Smith refused to deploy. Kendall-Smith's trial is expected to last three days. From the United Kingdom, the Telegraph has local coverage.

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