Federal judge extends stay of court-martial for Iraq war objector

Federal judge extends stay of court-martial for Iraq war objector

[JURIST] US District Judge Benjamin Settle Friday extended until November 9 a stay of court-martial proceedings against US Army Iraq war objector 1st Lt. Ehren Watada [JURIST news archive]. Settle had temporarily blocked the court-martial, the second filed for the same charges, to consider whether the proceedings would violate Watada's Fifth Amendment rights [JURIST report]. The stay was originally set to expire October 26. The Seattle Times has more.

Watada, a 28-year-old Honolulu native, publicly refused deployment to Iraq [JURIST report] in July 2006, and was charged by the Army with with four counts of conduct unbecoming an officer and one count of missing movements. His first court-martial was declared a mistrial [JURIST report], but the Army refiled charges [JURIST report]. The case is before the US Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, but that court has not yet issued a decision, which prompted Watada to ask the federal district court for relief.