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Canada government orders deportation of female US soldier who avoided Iraq service

[JURIST] Former US Army [official website] Pfc. Kimberly Rivera [advocacy profile] who fled the US for Canada after serving in Iraq announced Wednesday that the Canadian government [official website] had ordered her deportation. She, along with her husband and children, had sought asylum on humanitarian grounds to avoid a second tour in Iraq. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney [official profile] defended [Toronto Star report] the practice of deporting military deserters, distinguishing between draft dodgers and people who join the military voluntarily and later defect. Rivera, the first female US soldier to flee to Canada, could face a court-martial and up to five years in prison [AP report] upon her return to the US.

Canada's House of Commons in June passed a non-binding resolution [Globe and Mail report] to grant US military deserters asylum, which the Conservative party minority government has ignored. In September, the Canadian Federal Court granted [JURIST report] a last-minute stay of removal for US Army deserter Jeremy Hinzman, after hearing about errors in the assessment of hardships he and his family would face in the US. In August, a US military judge in Colorado sentenced US Army Pfc. Robin Long, who had been denied asylum [JURIST reports] in Canada, to 15 months in prison, dishonorable discharge and demotion after Long pleaded guilty to desertion with intent to remain away permanently. In November 2007, the Supreme Court of Canada declined to hear [JURIST report] the appeals of two US military deserters who sought refugee status within the country.

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