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AWOL American soldier applies for German asylum
Connection e.V.
International Support of Conscientious Objectors and Deserters

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(22.11.2016) 
AWOL US soldier André Shepherd needs asylum - Solidarity eMail, donations
(18.11.2016) 
Connection e.V. and PRO ASYL: Munich Administrative Court rejects suit by U.S. AWOL soldier André Shepherd - Observers have impression of bias in asylum proceedings
(03.11.2016) 
Pro Asyl, Connection e.V., Bavarian Refugee Council, DFG-VK Bavaria and MAPC: Solidarity with U.S. AWOL soldier André Shepherd - Invitation to court hearing on asylum case, and meeting with the press afterwards
Connection e.V.: U.S. AWOL Soldier André Shepherd’s Application for Political Asylum - A Chronology
(12.09.2015) 
André Shepherd: "Thank you for this wonderful recognition" - Human Rights Award of Foundation PRO ASYL for U.S. AWOL soldier André Shepherd
(31.08.2015) 
Connection e.V.: Connection e.V. Salutes Award for André Shepherd - PRO ASYL presents human rights award to U.S. AWOL soldier
(14.03.2015) 
Rudi Friedrich: U.S. AWOL Soldier André Shepherd’s Request for Asylum - The European Court of Justice: Having published its preliminary ruling, what is the next move?
(26.02.2015) 
Connection e.V. and PRO ASYL: Decision of the European Court of Justice in the case of U.S. AWOL soldier André Shepherd - Connection e.V. and PRO ASYL: Much that is negative and little that is positive in the outcome
(26.02.2015) 
European Court of Justice (ECJ) - Judgment in the Case André Shepherd against Bundesrepublik Deutschland - C-472/13
(11.11.2014) 
Connection e.V. and Pro Asyl: U.S. AWOL soldier André Shepherd: European Court of Justice Advocate General Reinforces Rights of Refusers
(11.11.2014) 
Advocate General ’s Opinion in Case Shepherd v Bundesrepublik Deutschland - Press Release of Court of Justice of the European Union
(11.11.2014) 
Opinion of Advocate General Sharpston - Case C-472/13, Shepherd v Bundesrepublik Deutschland
(17.06.2014) 
Connection e.V., Pro Asyl und Military Counseling Network e.V.: AWOL U.S. soldier André Shepherd at European Court of Justice - Invitation to Hearing and Press Conference
(10.09.2013) 
Connection e.V., PRO ASYL and Military Counseling Network e.V.: AWOL U.S. soldier at the European Court of Justice - Asylum application of André Shepherd will be heard in Luxemburg
(18.01.2013) 
Pro Asyl, Connection e.V., Bavarian Refugee Council, DFG-VK Bavaria, MAPC und MCN: Asylum application by AWOL U.S. GI André Shepherd to be submitted to European Court of Justice - Hearing at Munich Administrative Court is cancelled
(15.01.2013) 
Pro Asyl, Connection e.V., Bavarian Refugee Council, DFG-VK Bavaria, MAPC und MCN: Solidarity with U.S. AWOL soldier André Shepherd - Invitation to press conference, support action and court hearing
(03.04.2012) 
André Shepherd: "The peoples of the world who have borne the brunt of the unlawful attacks must have the chance at peace" - Easter Letter to all my Friends and Supporters
(13.11.2011) 
Minimum Standards for the Qualification of Refugees - Directive of European Union
(07.04.2011) 
Connection e.V., Pro Asyl and Military Counseling Network: U.S. AWOL soldier Shepherd appeals against the rejection of his application for political asylum - Severe criticism of the decision of the Federal Bureau from peace and refugee-aid organizations
(07.04.2011) 
Reaction To Asylum Decision - André Shepherd states his position
(09.12.2010) 
André Shepherd: A Demand for Justice - Message of greeting to protest action in front of Canadian consulate in Düsseldorf
(20.09.2010) 
Connection e.V. and Military Counseling Network: U.S. AWOL soldier André Shepherd receives award from German newspaper - No decision yet in German asylum process
(18.09.2010) 
Gallery: Ceremony - André Shepherd receives award from German newspaper
(09.08.2010) 
Connection e.V. and Military Counseling Network: AWOL US soldier André Shepherd nominated for Panter Award - Take part in the voting at the German newspaper Taz
(10.04.2010) 
Asylum Update - Letter by US AWOL soldier André Shepherd
(30.03.2010) 
Courage to Resist: Berkeley (US): City council recommends amnesty for war resisters
(26.11.2009) 
André Shepherd: Letter to Supporters - "I understand that this is a potential political time-bomb"
(01.09.2009) 
US AWOL soldier André Shepherd Needs Asylum! - A Declaration on Anti-War Day, 2009 - Signed by more than 100 groups and organisations
(01.09.2009) 
US AWOL soldier André Shepherd Needs Asylum! - Declaration on Anti-War Day, 2009, as pdf-file
(30.05.2009) 
U.S. Soldier Seeking Asylum in Germany: `I Want to Be Able to Atone` - Elsa Rassbach interviews André Shepherd
(19.05.2009) 
André Shepherd: Letter to Supporters - "The numerous efforts have given me the strength to continue on this difficult path"
(15.05.2009) 
Connection e.V. and Military Counseling Network: AWOL U.S. soldier André Shepherd on the International Day of Conscientious Objection - "We will not rest until the war criminals are brought to justice"
(16.03.2009) 
Iraq Veterans Against the War convenes Winter Soldier Europe before NATO summit - Testimony are available online
(07.02.2009) 
André Shepherd: Prize "Peace through Conviction" for U.S. AWOL soldier - Prizewinner said thanks
(04.02.2009) 
Connection e.V. and Military Counseling Network: U.S. AWOL soldier André Shepherd receives peace prize - No decision yet in German asylum process
(09.12.2008) 
US Soldier Seeks Political Asylum In Germany - SPC. Andre Shepherd - Link to video of the press-conference
(01.12.2008) 
Alemania: soldados de los EEUU solicitan asilo
(27.11.2008) 
André Shepherd: "I am petitioning for political asylum in Germany" - Statement of US-AWOL André Shepherd to asylum claim in Germany
(27.11.2008) 
Military Counseling Network: Iraq war veteran seeks asylum in Germany - Report of Military Counseling Network
(27.11.2008) 
Gallery: Press Conference in Frankfurt
Military Counseling Network - Link for Website and Contact
Tübingen Progressive Americans - Link for Website and Contact
Iraq Veterans Against the War Europe - link to website

AWOL American soldier applies for German asylum

Statement of André Shepherd at press-conference in Frankfurt/M. (Germany)

by André Shepherd

Hello, my name is Andre Shepherd, and I was a member of the U.S. Army before finding that my conscience would no longer allow for me to continue in such a capacity. I am currently Absent Without Leave and am requesting asylum in Germany. I am asking for your support in this difficult matter.

I enlisted in the military in January of 2004 and worked my way up in rank from private to specialist by the time I left my unit in June of 2007. I served most of my enlistment in Katterbach, Germany, with the 412th Aviation Support Battalion and was deployed to Iraq from September 2004 to February 2005. My mission in Iraq was to repair and maintain the AH-64 Apache helicopter, which were then used to support the infantry or to find and destroy the “enemy combatants.” My job appeared harmless, until one factors in the amount of death and destruction those helicopters caused to civilians in Iraq. When I read and heard about people being ripped to shreds from the machine guns or being blown to bits by the Hellfire missiles as well as buildings and infrastructures being destroyed I began to feel ashamed about what I was doing. It is a sickening feeling to realize that I took part in what was basically a daily slaughter of a proud people. The second battle for Fallujah is a vivid reminder of the level of destruction that these and other weapons can inflict upon a population. I believe the Apache is responsible for a significant portion of the civilian death toll in Iraq which at last count was at least 500,000. I am remorseful for my contribution to these heinous acts, and I swear that I will never make these mistakes again.

When enlisting, I took an oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” After my deployment to Iraq, however, I began to question whether I was doing what I had signed up to do. I spent many months researching the causes of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and what the U.S. military was doing in those countries, and I came to the conclusion that both invasions were illegal according to U.S. and international law. We have destroyed nations, killed leaders, raided homes, tortured, kidnapped, lied, and manipulated not just citizens and leaders of our enemies, but of our allies as well. I could not, in good conscience, continue to serve in the U.S. Army.

The U.S. military does not offer a discharge for someone who believes they are being asked to take part in an illegal war, but believes appropriate force is occasionally necessary. I had to choose between ignoring my beliefs and leaving the military illegally. For me, the correct path was clear: I had to leave.

It is perhaps appropriate that I am applying for asylum in Germany, where the Nuremburg trials took place 60 years ago. One of the main things that were established during these trials was that one cannot defend one’s actions by claiming to have merely been following orders. If I had stayed in the U.S. Army and continued to participate in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, I could not legally argue that I was just doing my job. Here in Germany it was established that everyone, even a soldier, must take responsibility for his or her actions, no matter how many superiors are giving orders.

I recognize that the U.S. military could try to charge me with desertion with intent to shirk hazardous duty during a time of war. If I were to be found guilty of such a crime, U.S. military regulations state they have the right to convict me with a penalty of death. Nevertheless, I made the decision that I believe is right.

There have been many Germans who have called the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan illegal and immoral. It is only logical to suggest then that the soldiers who participate in these wars are also committing illegal and immoral acts. The question now is whether Germany will grant asylum and stand with those soldiers who refuse to take part in these wars.

Barack Obama will become president of the United States in January. He campaigned with a message of change and has stated he wishes to end the Iraq War. He has repeatedly stated that as president he will move the troops from Iraq into Afghanistan. However, this does not translate into sympathy for those who refuse to take part in an illegal war. I believe no pardon or amnesty will be given before both conflicts have ended. Furthermore, fellow AWOL Army soldier Robin Long was recently deported from Canada to the United States, where he now sits in military prison. Mr. Obama never stated an intention to reversing the Bush Doctrine, nor has he stated any intention to bring the Bush administration to justice for their part in these criminal activities. Mr. Obama’s silence on these issues speaks volumes as to his current disposition toward those who refuse to fight.


Statement of André Shepherd at press-conference in Frankfurt/M. (Germany), November 27, 2008.



Keywords:    ⇒ Andre Shepherd   ⇒ CO and Asylum   ⇒ Conscientious Objection   ⇒ Germany   ⇒ USA

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