US war resister Jeremy Hinzman will be in Federal court today, appealing the Canadian Immigration Board's decision to deny him refugee status.
Hinzman is one of about 20 American soldiers whose objections to the invasion of Iraq brought them to Canada. (Hinzman's attorney, Jeffry House, says that another 150-180 people are watching the outcome of this case before they act.) The Immigration Board ruled that Hinzman does not qualify for political asylum, because he is not a conscientious objector or a pacifist - he objects to a specific war, not all war. In addition, they ruled that US is a democratic country and would provide Hinzman with a fair trial. Hinzman faces a court martial and five years in prison if he returns to the US.
It's pretty clear that Canadian refugee law, although very generous, doesn't include a provision for Hinzman's circumstances. Naturally I wish it did. When I blogged about Hinzman back in March, a Toronto Star columnist had a good idea for how Canada could help Hinzman, and it would have applied to me, too.
Hinzman's website is here, although it appears not to be updated frequently. Brandon Hughey, another US war resister, has a good website, too.
I admire and respect these men, for their choices and their moral courage. I'm glad they were able to live here during their application and hearing process. I just wish there was something more Canada could do.