Thursday, November 15, 2007

U.S. deserters lose bid for Canada refugee status

Two U.S. army deserters who fled to Canada and sought refugee status on the grounds of their opposition to the war in Iraq have lost their bids to have the Supreme Court of Canada hear their cases.

The court refused Thursday to hear the appeals of Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey, who were rejected by the Immigration and Refugee Board in 2005.

The board ruled they would not be at risk of their lives if they returned to the United States, nor were they at risk of “cruel and unusual treatment or punishment.”

Both would face jail time if convicted of desertion.

Hinzman and Hughey deserted the army in 2004 after learning their units were to be deployed to Iraq. They say they refuse to participate in what they call an immoral and illegal war.

Both the Federal Court and the Federal Court of Appeal refused to review their cases.

As is usual in such cases, the Supreme Court gave no reasons for the decision.

Green party Leader Elizabeth May said Canada should not “facilitate the persecution of American war objectors by deporting them to the United States.”

Hinzman flew to Canada in January 2004, along with his wife and son.

Hughey arrived in March 2004.

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