and now... we wait.

Hinzman's refugee hearing wraps up

08 Dec 2004 19:25:59 EST

TORONTO - A U.S. army [war resister] will have to wait until the new year to find out if he will be granted refugee status in Canada.

A three-day immigration and refugee board hearing to decide whether 26-year-old Jeremy Hinzman will be allowed to stay in Canada wrapped up Wednesday.

The former paratrooper who deserted his unit last January has based his claim on two arguments.

He says the war in Iraq is illegal and that he shouldn't be compelled to serve in what he refers to as a criminal conflict.

He also told the board that he refused to serve because he might have had to commit atrocities against the Iraqi people.

To back up that claim, Hinzman's lawyer brought in former marine Sgt. Jimmy Masser, who testified that his unit killed more than 30 unarmed civilians in Iraq during a 48-hour period.

Hinzman said he wants Canada to declare him a refugee so he isn't forced to go back to the United States where he says he will face persecution.

"Jail is one thing but after I would be released from jail, the chances of reaching a job would be very slim," he said.

"I think we all know the climate of the States right now is kinda hostile to any dissent and I wouldn't wanna have to be privy to that."

The board is expected to make its decision in February.

Written by CBC News Online staff
photo: Globe and Mail

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