- Title: German court considers asylum claim of U.S. army deserter
- Date: 16th November 2016
- Summary: MUNICH, GERMANY (NOVEMBER 16, 2016) (REUTERS) ***WARNING CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** VARIOUS OF PROTESTERS OUTSIDE COURT HOLDING BANNER READING (German) "CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTORS AND DESERTERS NEED ASYLUM" MAN WEARING PLACARD READING "EVERY WAR IS A CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY. I STAND FOR THE RESPECT OF INTERNATIONAL LAW ON THE PROHIBITION OF THE USE OF FORCE" (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. ARMY DESERTER, ANDRE SHEPHERD, SAYING: "My feeling is, like always, total victory because with every passing day there's even more evidence mounting that America made a serious mistake when they started this war on terror back in 2001 and especially with the negative effects from the Iraq war, especially with the rise of ISIS and with the destruction of Libya and how the Middle East is now in chaos, that there's more than sufficient evidence that the case that we brought before the German courts is correct." VARIOUS OF SHEPHERD STANDING WITH PROTESTERS VARIOUS OF MAN WEARING PLACARD READING (German): "ASYLUM FOR DESERTERS" (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. ARMY DESERTER, ANDRE SHEPHERD, SAYING: "Right now, personally I feel a little bit nervous because it has finally come to a head where we have our day in court here in Munich and at the same time I also feel really confident that things will be positive." VARIOUS OF SIGN READING "BAVARIAN ADMINISTRATIVE COURT MUNICH" VARIOUS OF SHEPHERD INSIDE WITH SUPPORTERS (SOUNDBITE) (German) ANDRE SHEPHERD'S LAWYER, REINHARD MARX, SAYING: "I don't know, you cannot make predictions about a case like this. Although we have very good arguments and have submitted a lot of evidence, it is still a very unusual case. A U.S. deserter in front of a German court, of course that's quite explosive." VARIOUS OF COURT NOTICE WITH SHEPHERD'S NAME LISTED IN CASE AGAINST GERMANY (SOUNDBITE) (German) ANDRE SHEPHERD'S LAWYER, REINHARD MARX, SAYING: "The good thing is that he already has a residence permit independent of the asylum process. He won't have to leave the country if he loses here. It's now just a question of whether his decision to refuse to fight is recognised as grounds for asylum according to the Geneva Convention on Refugees." VARIOUS OF PEOPLE IN COURTROOM VARIOUS OF SHEPHERD ENTERING COURTROOM FILES SHEPHERD PHOTOGRAPHERS FILES MARX VARIOUS OF JUDGES ENTERING SHEPHERD JUDGES SITTING DOWN
- Embargoed: 1st December 2016 13:58
- Keywords: Andre Shepherd US army deserter Iraq German court asylum application
- Location: MUNICH, GERMANY
- City: MUNICH, GERMANY
- Country: Germany
- Topics: Crime/Law/Justice,Judicial Process/Court Cases/Court Decisions
- Reuters ID: LVA00158P1HL3
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: A trial began in Munich on Wednesday (November 16) to consider the asylum claim of a soldier who deserted the U.S. army because he thought the Iraq war was illegal.
Andre Shepherd served in Iraq between September 2004 and February 2005 as an Apache helicopter mechanic in the 412th Aviation Support Battalion. He has been living in Germany since deserting in 2007.
The trial is to reconsider whether Shepherd has the right to asylum after his initial plea was rejected in 2008 and his subsequent appeal was forwarded to the European Court of Justice (ECJ).
The ECJ ruled in February 2015 that Shepherd could have grounds for seeking asylum in Germany but only if he can show he would have been involved in war crimes and that he had no alternative to desertion, such as becoming a conscientious objector.
Shepherd has been outspoken about his objections to the war in Iraq, saying that he believes he should not have to participate in a war he considered unlawful. Speaking outside the court ahead of the trial on Wednesday, he said he was confident that the evidence was on his side.
"With every passing day there's even more evidence mounting that America made a serious mistake when they started this war on terror back in 2001 and especially with the negative effects from the Iraq war, especially with the rise of ISIS and the destruction of Libya and how the Middle East is now in chaos," the 39-year-old said.
Shepherd's lawyer Reinhard Marx said the result of such an unusual case was impossible to predict.
"Although we have very good arguments and have submitted a lot of evidence, it is still a very unusual case. A U.S. deserter in front of a German court, of course that's quite explosive," Marx said.
Marx added that Shepherd would not have to leave Germany if he lost the case, because he now has a residence permit independent of the asylum process.
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