Travis Bishop faces up to one year in prison for refusing to deploy to Afghanistan
Local activists plan to show support at his trial and at the gates of Fort Hood
Contact: James Branum, 405-476-5620 or 1-866-933-2769
Cynthia Thomas, 254-768-8300
BACKGROUND: The trial of conscientious objector and combat veteran Sergeant Travis Bishop will be starting on Thursday, August 12, 2009 at Fort Hood, Texas.
SGT Bishop is facing charges for missing movement, AWOL (absence without leave), and disobeying orders, because of his decision to not deploy with his unit to Afghanistan.
Bishop had been struggling with questions of conscience since his first deployment to Iraq, but never seriously considered refusing to deploy until he saw another soldier in his unit, Victor Agosto, refuse to deploy. SGT Bishop then did research and found out that he was in fact a concscientious objector. Unfortunately, he did not know that it was possible to file for conscientious objector status in the military until only days before his scheduled deployment.
Due to the short time remaining before his deployment, SGT Bishop left his unit and remained away for about a week, which he used to draft his conscientious objector application. SGT Bishop’s CO claims are rooted firmly in his Christian faith and his growing belief in the non-violent teachings of Jesus Christ.
Since returning, SGT Bishop has begun the process of seeking CO status, however his unit decided to simultaneously prosecute him for his “crimes” of conscience. If convicted in this special court-martial, SGT Bishop could face up to one year in military prison, a Bad Conduct Discharge, loss of pay and reduction to the lowest rank.
Trial Information for Spectators: Supporters of SGT Bishop are encouraged to attend the public trial. It will be held on Fort Hood (contact us for directions to the courtroom). The first day will start at approximately 3 p.m. on Thursday, with the second day starting at 9:00 a.m. on Friday. Spectators are reminded to not bring any cameras, recording devises and signs into the courtroom, and to conduct themselves with dignity during the proceedings. Also be sure and arrive early as you will need to get a pass to enter base (except from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.).
Trial Information for Press: Press planning to attend the trial are required to contact the Ft. Hood Public Affairs Office.
Post-Trial Demonstration Plans: If SGT Bishop is found guilty, a solidarity vigil/demonstration will be held at the East Gate of Fort Hood starting at 7 p.m. on Friday. Participants are welcome to bring signs but are asked to leave all weapons and illegal drugs at home. We are committed to providing a non-violent witness on Travis’ behalf.
HOW YOU CAN HELP:
Donate to support other soldiers like Travis by giving to the Under the Hood GI Coffee house
Donate to the Travis Bishop legal defense fund at Courage to Resist