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Court of Appeal confirms nine months sentence for Joe Glenton
British Afghanistan war refusenik still in prison
by Connection e.V., DFG-VK Hesse and IVAW Europe
According to information forwarded by the British organisation Payday, the High Court in London refused the appeal lodged by British Afghanistan war refusenik Joe Glenton and confirmed the sentence of nine months for having gone AWOL. Connection e.V., Iraq Veterans Against the War Europe, DFG-VK Hesse and Payday see the sentence as a measure to prevent other soldiers from speaking out their opposition to the war in Afghanistan. Rudi Friedrich of the network for conscientious objectors Connection e.V. said today, „According to figures published by the British ministry of war, more than 17,000 British soldiers have gone AWOL since 2003. They have clearly voted with their feet: Against the highly controversial war operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.“ Chris Capps, spokesman of IVAW Europe,
added: “They picked out Joe Glenton because he spoke out what so many soldiers are thinking. The politicians who instigated the war should be in the dock, not people who refuse it.“
At the same time, the organisations point out that since 2009, the governments of the US, UK, Germany and other allies have massively increased the numbers of troops deployed in Afghanistan. “The war is being expanded to the south of Afghanistan and into Pakistan”, said Dr Gernot Lennert of DFG-VK Hesse. “The bombing of two tank trucks near Kunduz, which was ordered by a German commander and killed more than 100 people, shows who bears the brunt of the escalation of war. It is the civilian population that suffers most.”
“Joe Glenton took the right decision“, Rudi Friedrich said today. “He refused to participate in a war which brings destruction and suffering. The German as well as all international troops should be withdrawn. A fraction of the funds spent on war – 3 billion Euros by Germany alone – would be enough to really improve the lot of the suffering population if it was used for peaceful reconstruction efforts.”
In 2007, Joe Glenton left his unit, traumatized by his seven months’ deployment in Afghanistan. He handed himself in two years later after speaking at an anti-war demonstration in London. Based on his own experience in Afghanistan, Joe Glenton wrote a letter to the British Defence Minister: “The war in Afghanistan is not reducing the terrorist risk. Far from improving Afghan lives it is bringing death and devastation to their country. Britain has no business there.“ He was among the first Afghanistan refuseniks to go public. The military responded harshly to his public statements, threatening him with up to ten years’ imprisonment.
During the appeal proceedings, the defense attorneys pointed out that Mr Glenton had been sentenced by a military court on March 5, 2010, although expert Lars Davidsson had diagnosed him with post-traumatic stress disorder acquired by his tour of duty in Afghanistan. At the time, Mr Glenton had turned to his superiors for help; however, he was turned away, refused treatment and called a coward and malingerer.
Meanwhile, in prison, he has been suffering mistreatment: After he complained about not having 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 wear boots despite the fact he has a broken toe. Crucially, he is getting no help whatsoever for his PTSD.
Connection e.V., DFG-VK Hesse and IVAW Europe ask you to support Joe Glenton. You can send him solidarity letters via defendjoeglenton(at)gmail.com. You can send him a letter to his address as well: Joe Glenton, Military Corrective Training Centre, Berechurch Hall Camp, Colchester CO2 9NU, UK.
Connection e.V., DFG-VK Hessen und IVAW Europe: Pressemitteilung vom 22.04.2010