u.k. war resister joe glenton needs our support: please email and write today

In early March, I wrote that Joe Glenton, the first known U.K. soldier to publicly refuse to fight in Afghanistan, was about to be court martialed. I neglected to follow-up: he was sentenced to nine months in prison.

Glenton is now facing mistreatment in prison. His appeal is scheduled for tomorrow, April 21, and his support network has asked us to send letters of protest and support to the Ministry of Defense.

Here's information from the Stop the War Coalition (UK); below that is a model of a letter that can be sent on Glenton's behalf. Whether you copy and paste this model, or write your own letter, or send two quick sentences of support, the Ministry will count them and they will know that Joe is not alone. And Joe will know he is not alone.
Cruel treatment of soldier refusing to fight in Afghanistan

Soldier Joe Glenton, who was court martialled on 5 March and jailed for nine months for refusing to fight in Afghanistan, and for speaking out at anti-war demonstrations, is being subjected to cruel treatment by army prison staff.

Joe Glenton, the British soldier who refused to return to fight in Afghanistan in a war he believed to be unjustified and unwinnable, is receiving cruel treatment at the hands of military prison staff, following his court martial and sentence to nine months imprisonment.

The prison authorities are trying to force him to sleep under an unwashed or dirty blanket - a punishment that often leads prisoners to get body lice - and to wear boots despite the fact he has broken his toe.

He has also received no treatment for his Post Traumatic Stress disorder despite the fact that the Judge who sentenced him 36 days ago assured the court he would receive treatment in prison.

Problems started after complaints that he was not receiving books sent by supporters. On Thursday 8th April he was told he was to be disciplined after claims he insulted an officer.

Joe denies the claims. The authorities refused his lawyers' application that he be represented at the disciplinary hearing.

Joe has refused to accept the 'blanket treatment', part of a punishment called One Bravo, despite threats of solitary confinement.

Joe's mother Sue Glenton said today: "We are seriously concerned for his welfare. This kind of bullying and victimisation is simply unacceptable. It is hardly going to help his mental state."

John Tipple, Joe's legal caseworker, said: "This kind of treatment is from the 19th century not the 21st. We are determined to test its legality in court at the first opportunity. The military should not be allowed to get away with this cruel and degrading treatment."

Most people in Britain oppose the war in Afghanistan. It is extraordinary that Joe Glenton, already being punished for his anti war views by a nine month prison sentence, is now being picked on by the military in prison. Stop the War will be organising protests outside the military prison where Joe is being held and at his appeal hearing against his prison sentence on Wednesday 21 April (details below).

From Refusing To Kill, what we can do:

* In the lead-up to Joe's appeal hearing on 21 April in London, we invite groups and individuals to picket British embassies and consulates or to organise other actions, including alerting the media. Please let us know at payday@paydaynet.org so we can publicise your actions on our website and to the press.

* Send a message of protest to the Ministry of Defence minister: ministerial-correspondence@mod.uk.

* Write your own message or copy and paste our model letter below. Copy your message to the Military Corrective Training Centre (Colchester) (mctcwelfare@hotmail.com) where Joe is detained, and to payday@paydaynet.org [US organizers].

* In London, UK, on 21 April from 9:30 a.m., join the picket of the Royal Courts of Justice on The Strand in London (called by the Stop the War Coalition) to support Joe and his family, to make this international protest known and to demand the immediate release of Joe Glenton.

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Model Letter: ministerial-correspondence@mod.uk; mctcwelfare@hotmail.com; payday@paydaynet.org

To: The Rt Hon. Bob Ainsworth, MP
Secretary of State for Defence
Ministry of Defence

cc: Military Corrective Training Centre (Colchester); Payday men's network;

Dear Mr Ainsworth,

Joe Glenton, 27, joined the Army in 2004 and was sent to Kandahar, Afghanistan, in 2006. During his tour, he was shocked to find that the Afghan people, whom they had been told they had come to help, were fighting against British troops. Ashamed, disillusioned and traumatised by his military experience, he went absent without leave (AWOL) in 2007 and handed himself in two years later.

Joe Glenton was jailed in November 2009 after he spoke to an anti-war rally in London. Diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), he was released five weeks later on condition that he no longer speaks publicly against the war. And this is Joe Glenton’s worst “crime”.

On 5 March 2010, he was sentenced to nine months in jail, a harsh sentence compared to what other (less public) soldiers convicted of going AWOL have received.

Prison conditions have also been harsh. The Army stopped Mr Glenton’s pay -- he gets only 88p a day pocket money. He cannot receive money, food, clothes or cigarettes and is only allowed ten minutes a week for telephone calls and (apart from his lawyer) two hours a week for visits.

He is suffering additional mistreatment: after complaints that he had not received books sent by supporters, the prison authorities accused Mr Glenton of insulting an officer, a charge he denies. They are trying to force Mr Glenton to sleep under a dirty blanket - a punishment that often leads prisoners to get body lice, and to wear boots despite the fact he has a broken toe. He has refused the ‘blanket’ punishment: he is now threatened with solitary confinement. Crucially, he is getting no help whatsoever for his PTSD. These practices are totally unacceptable and we believe illegal. We urge you to stop them immediately.

We believe that Mr Glenton is being punished because he and his family have never stopped speaking out against the war in Afghanistan, a feeling shared by the majority of British public outside and, increasingly, inside the barracks.

Joe Glenton has already spent far too much time in jail. We request that he is released immediately so that he can go back to his family and community and access the health care his condition requires.

Yours sincerely,

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For more background on Joe Glenton:

* Joe delivers letter to prime minister Gordon Brown at Downing Street

* Joe joins landmark demonstration against the war in Afghanistan

* "Why I'm defying orders to join the Stop the War demonstration", by Joe Glenton

* Soldier sentenced to nine months for refusing to fight in Afghanistan

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My letter:

The Rt Hon. Bob Ainsworth, MP
Secretary of State for Defence
Ministry of Defence
United Kingdom

Dear Mr Ainsworth,

I am writing in support of former soldier Joe Glenton.

As you know, Glenton was sentenced to nine months in jail for refusing to serve in Afghanistan and refusing to be silent about his opposition to the war.

I've learned that Glenton is being mistreated in prison. Indeed, being sent to prison for refusing to participate in an unjust occupation is already mistreatment. But in addition, Glenton has been refused treatment for his PTSD, is being held in inhumane, harsh conditions, cannot receive money or personal comforts from outside prison, and has severely restricted visiting time.

The majority of people in the UK and throughout the world, including Canada, do not support the war in Afghanistan. Joe Glenton should not be punished for exercising his human right to conscience. He has already spent far too much time in jail. Please release him immediately.


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