Celebrations planned after ruling on war resister
Published Thursday, July 10, 2008 11:59AM EDT
Peace activists and friends of U.S. war resister Corey Glass are celebrating the Federal Court's decision to allow the Iraq war veteran to stay in Canada.
Glass fled to Canada to avoid redeployment. He was supposed to be deported on Thursday, but received a last-minute reprieve on Wednesday allowing him to remain in the country until the court decides whether to hear his case.
Demonstrators across the country planned to protest his deportation on Thursday. They will now celebrate the news he can stay, said Lee Zaslofsky of the War Resisters Support Campaign.
"We're also going to try to put pressure on the government to resolve this whole thing on war resisters instead of dealing with it one court case at a time," he told CTV's Canada AM on Thursday.
Glass, 25, faces possible jail time in the United States for deserting the National Guard after his first tour in Iraq.
According to his counsel, articling lawyer Alyssa Manning, the deportation stay will likely last at least two months. If the court decides to hear his case, he would be allowed to stay for much longer.
Glass said that when he was recruited, he was told he wouldn't have to go to war unless the United States was attacked on its own soil.
"I was (told) by my recruiter that the only way we go to war is if there's troops on the ground (in America)," he told Canada AM.
Once deployed to Iraq, Glass was moved to a job for which he was not trained, he said.
"I was supposed to do telephones and I ended up doing military intelligence," he said. "Without training, I was supposed to be in charge of soldiers. They knew I wasn't trained."
He said he also saw U.S. soldiers commit numerous offences he considers war crimes.
"There were a lot of violations of human rights," he said, declining to go into further detail.
Because Glass deserted while his National Guard unit was under military control, he remained a military responsibility even after his colleagues returned to domestic service. His unit was disbanded after returning from Iraq so Glass was transferred to the army reserves in absentia.
"Now he is considered a member of the army instead of a member of the National Guard under army duty," Manning told CTV.ca.
While numerous Iraq war dodgers have fled to Canada, Glass was the first to face deportation. His claim for asylum was turned down on the grounds that he could rely on due process in the Unites States. A federal risk assessment determined he faced "no more than a mere possibility of persecution."
He was served a deportation order in May but asked the Federal Court to review the assessment.
Glass had already left his Toronto apartment when he learned he wouldn't be forced to leave the country. He said the news was a huge relief, adding it "buys a lot of time.''
Demonstrators at Thursday's event will continue their call for war resister Robin Long to be released from prison. Long is currently in a British Columbia jail awaiting deportation to the United States on Monday.
With files from The Canadian Press