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Legal victory for war resister

By: 
Jesse McLaren

February 8, 2013

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney entered 2013 with momentum. Last fall he forced war resister Kim Rivera and her family out of the country—though not without mass opposition, from petitions to neighbourhood marches, to Archbishop Desmund Tutu speaking out—and this year he imposed his arbitrary list of “safe countries” to increase the deportation of refugees from the US and other countries.
 
But the start of 2013 has seen the campaign to support war resisters push back. On January 26 on the eve of Parliament resuming, dozens of prominent supporters wrote an open letter that took up half a page in The Globe & Mail, broadcasting the breadth and depth of support for war resisters across the country.
 
The mass support for war resisters has also translated into 10 Federal Court or Federal Court of Appeal decisions in favour of US war resisters—which have stopped many deportations. On February 1 came yet another positive decision, this one advancing key legal arguments for all war resisters.
 
Jules Tindungan left the US military and came to Canada after witnessing war crimes in Afghanistan during his 15 month tour. While the Immigration and Refugee Board turned down his application, the Federal Court found significant errors in the judgment. First, the court found that Tindungan "submitted voluminous documentary evidence from credible, third-party sources … that suggest that the US has not complied with its international obligations." Like other cases, the court found that war resisters who speak out publicly get harsher sentences when returned to the US. Furthermore, the court found that the US court-martial system "fails to comply with basic fairness requirements found in Canadian and International Law."
 
These legal findings, the product of a broad political campaign, help not only Tindungan’s own case but the cases of all war resisters. We need to increase the pressure on the Tories to stop interfering with war resisters and we need to demand that they and their families be allowed to stay in Canada.
 
To get involved with the War Resisters Support campaign, please visit: http://resisters.ca/

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