I’m a few days late in reporting on this, but it such huge news that I think it is better late than never…
Courage to Resist: AWOL Army resister applies for asylum in Germany
Military Counseling Network: André Shepherd seeks German asylum
Bellacio.org: Statement of André Shepherd at press-conference in Frankfurt (also see the statement at Connection-ev.de
Financial Times (UK): US soldier’s German asylum plea imperils ties
This is encouraging to me on several fronts…
1. If the 40+ public war resisting asylum seekers in Canada lose their court fights, I think it would be wonderful if they could be accepted by a nation in Europe instead of facing certain persecution in the US.
2. The situation in Europe has unique legal twists. Here’s one blurb from the Financial Times story that explains this in more detail…
Under a 2004 European directive, now part of German law, the country must grant asylum to deserters if the conflicts they are fleeing from are being conducted in an unlawful manner. Mr Shepherd, 31 has been staying with German friends, often changing locations and working illegally on construction sites. He said he was reconciled to the idea that a successful asylum application would make it impossible for him ever to return to the US. “I miss my family a lot, but Germany has also become a second home” he said.
Mr Shepherd’s lawyer, Reinhard Marx, said: “Legally, his prospects are looking very good.” The German Federal Administrative Court ruled in 2005 that the Iraq War violated international law and labelled the invasion an act of aggression.
I’m definitely rooting for him and will keep you updated on what we in the US can do to assist André in his struggle for justice.
And I must say I’m awfully proud as a Mennonite to see the MCN stand behind him, as the Mennos are some of MCN’s key supporters.