Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Sgt. Camilo Mejia, conscientious objector, released from prison

From the headlines of yesterday's Democracy Now!:

Conscientious Objector Sgt. Camilo Mejia Released From Jail
Conscientious Objector Sgt. Camilo Mejia has been released from military prison after serving a nine-month sentence for refusing to return to fight in Iraq. The 28-year Sergeant applied for objector status after witnessing the killing of civilians and the abuse of detainees in Iraq. Upon his release Meija said "I certainly want to continue to lend my voice to the movement for Peace and Justice, of which I feel privileged to be a part."

Also from yesterday (same topic), Code Pink had this (this is an excerpt click to read the piece in full):

We were delighted to receive a phone call yesterday, February 15, from Camilo Mejia, letting us know that he has just been released from prison. Some of you might remember Camilo, a courageous soldier who spent more than 7 years in the military, 8 months fighting in Iraq, came home for a 2-week furlough, and decided that he could not -- in good conscience -- return to Iraq.
He applied for Conscientious Objector status, and was declared a Prisoner of Conscience by Amnesty International. But the US military convicted him of desertion, and sent him to serve a one-year prison sentence in Fort Sill, Oklahoma. This happened the same day that Spc. Jeremy Sivits was court-martialed and sentenced to a year in prison for abusing Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib, an order Camilo had refused to obey.
For more information on Camilo go to:
Regaining My Humanity
By Camilo Mejia
I was deployed to Iraq in April 2003 and returned homefor a two-week leave in October. Going home gave me the opportunity to put my thoughts in order and to listen to what my conscience had to say. People would ask me about my war experiences and answering them took me back to all the horrors -- the firefights, the ambushes, the time I saw a young Iraqi dragged by his shoulders through a pool of his own blood or an innocent man was decapitated by our machine gun fire.
The time I saw a soldier broken down inside because he killed a child, or an old man on his knees, crying with his arms raised to the sky, perhaps asking God why we had taken the lifeless body of his son.

(Again, I intended to highlight this yesterday -- and stated in one entry that I would -- my apologies for letting this slide over to today.)