Army sergeant to face court-martial for refusing return to Iraq

Army sergeant to face court-martial for refusing return to Iraq

[JURIST] US Army Sergeant Kevin Benderman will face a general court-martial on charges of desertion and missing movement [JURIST report] after he failed to report for his unit's deployment flight to Iraq on January 7, according to a military spokesman at Fort Stewart, Georgia. Benderman contends he became opposed to the war, and gave notice to his commanders before deployment that he planned to seek discharge as a conscientious objector [DOD directive; PDF]. Conscientious objector status allows a soldier to receive discharge if he or she has a firm objection to war in any form or the bearing of arms" because of deeply held moral, ethical, or religious beliefs." If convicted Benderman faces up to seven years in prison and dishonorable discharge. Supporters of Benderman have established a defense website. AP has more.