Army Deserter To Be Deported From Canada

Jeremy Hinzman, his son Liam, and wife wait for the immigration hearing in Toronto, Canada in this Dec. 6, 2004 file photo. The Canadian government on Thursday March 24, 2005 denied refugee status to Hinzman. AP

One of the first U.S. Army deserters from Iraq to seek refugee status in Canada has been ordered deported.

Jeremy Hinzman said Wednesday he was ordered out of the country by Sept. 23 by Canada's Border Services Agency.

Hinzman deserted the Army from Fort Bragg, N.C., in 2004 after learning his unit was to be deployed to Iraq. He refused to participate in what he calls an immoral and illegal war

Hinzman, 29, fled to Canada with his wife and son after he was ordered to deploy to Iraq with the 82nd Airborne Division in December 2003. He likely faces military charges in the U.S.

"I'm disappointed, but I think that every soldier that has refused to fight in Iraq has done a good thing and I'm not ashamed," Hinzman said moments after learning of the decision.

Hinzman said reasons were given for the decision but he hadn't gone over them yet.

"I don't know how political it was. I had a high profile case," Hinzman said.

The Immigration and Refugee Board rejected his claim in 2005 and the Federal Court of Appeal held that he wouldn't face any serious punishment if returned to the United States.

Hinzman took his pleas to the Supreme Court of Canada, which also refused to hear the case.

Hinzman fled in January 2004. He had served three years in the Army, but had applied for conscientious objector status before his unit was sent to Afghanistan in 2002 where he served in a non-combat position.

Last month, Robin Long became the first resister to the U.S war effort in Iraq to be removed by Canadian authorities.

There are about 200 American deserters believed to have come to Canada trying to avoid service in Iraq. So far, Canadian immigration officials and the courts have rejected efforts to grant them refugee status.

During the Vietnam War, up to 90,000 Americans successfully won refuge in Canada, most of them to avoid the military draft. The majority went home after the United States granted amnesty in the late 1970s. Many also were given permanent residence status in Canada that eventually resulted in citizenship.

Canada's Parliament's lower house passed a nonbinding motion in June allowing U.S. military deserters to stay in Canada, but the Conservative government ignored the vote.

Conservative government party members opposed the motion, not willing to risk straining ties with Washington over the issue or fight rulings already made by the courts and immigrations officials.
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