Key Denied Refugee Status in Canada Courts

House to appeal decision to Federal Court
November 4, 2006


A U.S. military [war resister] who allegedly saw an Iraqi soldier's severed head get kicked around by his comrades has been denied refugee status in Canada.

Joshua Key, 27, a father of four, is the third high-profile [war resister] to be refused asylum by the Immigration and Refugee Board.

"I am sure he will be terribly disappointed," Jeffrey House, Key's lawyer, said yesterday. "I thought we had an invincible case."

Key was shipped to Iraq in April 2003 and left 240 days later, disillusioned by the war and shaken by the actions of fellow soldiers.

Board member Keith Brennenstuhl heard a litany of horrors that Key, an explosives expert, alleges he witnessed, including seeing soldiers kick the severed head of an Iraqi in Ramadi "like a soccer ball."

House is appealing the decision to the Federal Court of Canada.

More and more [war resisters] are fleeing to Canada as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan worsen, House said, with about two a week showing up at his Toronto office.

"There are hundreds in the system in Canada," he said. At least 35 have filed refugee claims in Canada, he said.

The IRB doesn't want to hurt relations with the U.S. by granting refugee status to [war resisters], House charged.

[War resisters] Jeremy Hinzman, 27, and Brandon Hughey, 20, also were refused refugee status and have taken their cases to the Federal Court of Appeal. Hinzman and Hughey, both now living in Toronto, left the U.S. before they were to be deployed to Iraq in 2004.

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