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US Army officer to recommend court-martial for Iraq war objector

[JURIST] US Army Lt. Col. Mark Keith, the investigating officer with recommending whether 1st Lt. Ehren Watada [advocacy website; Wikipedia profile] will face a military trial for refusing to deploy to Iraq, will recommend Friday that Watada face court-martial on charges [charge sheet, PDF; JURIST report] of missing his unit's movement, contempt toward officials, and conduct unbecoming an officer. A spokesman for Fort Lewis said Thursday that Keith will recommend that the case against Watada proceed to a general court-martial. Keith's report now goes to Fort Lewis commander Lt. Gen. James Dubik and Col. Cynthia Murphy, the commander of Watada's brigade, for a final decision.

If the case proceeds to trial and Watada is convicted on all charges, he could face a seven-year prison sentence and a dishonorable discharge from the Army. Watada announced in early June that he would not deploy because he believes the Iraq war is unlawful [JURIST report], adding that he would go to Afghanistan if called to do so. AP has more. The Seattle Times has local coverage.

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