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US soldier disputing Iraq war legality turns himself in after absconding

[JURIST] US Army Sgt. Ricky Clousing, an Iraq war veteran, turned himself in at Fort Lewis [post website] on Friday after absconding from Fort Bragg in June 2005 because he no longer wanted to participate in what he says is a war with "no legal basis to be fought." Clousing's lawyers have said they attempted to contact both Army bases last fall, but neither claimed responsibility for him. If Clousing is found to be a deserter or absent without leave he will be sent back to Fort Bragg for appropriate proceedings. Clousing was deployed to Baghdad in December 2004 after training as an interrogator for the 82nd Airborne, and while there said he witnessed the unprovoked killing of an Iraqi man by US troops at a checkpoint. When he raised the issue with superiors he said he was told he "needed to shut up," according to AP. Clousing has declined to seek conscientious objector status [Selective Service backgrounder] as he says he is not inherently opposed to all wars.

A Fort Lewis hearing is already scheduled for next week in the case of a commissioned US officer, 1st Lt. Ehren Watada, who last month was charged for refusing deployment to Iraq [JURIST report]. AP has more.

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