Lt. Watada In Limbo On 2nd Anniversary Of Refusal To Go To Iraq

KPLU | June 5, 2008 10:06 p.m. | Updated: July 17, 2012 1:15 a.m. | Olympia, WA

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By Austin Jenkins

It was two years ago Saturday that Army lieutenant Ehren Watada announced his refusal to go to war in Iraq. Since then, the Fort Lewis soldier has become a hero to the anti-war movement.

But his legal troubles remain unresolved – tied up in federal court. Correspondent Austin Jenkins has this update.

Watada’s first military court martial ended in a mistrial. That was in February of last year.

When the Army attempted to try him again — Watada’s lawyers went to federal civilian court. They said their client had objected to the mistrial being declared and to try him again constituted double jeopardy — being tried for the same crime twice.

The judge issued an injunction. Today the legal wrangling continues. Watada’s attorney — Ken Kagan — expects the case will eventually make its way to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Ken Kagan: “It’s conceivable that the appeals process in the 9th Circuit could consume anywhere from 18 months to three years. So that is a limbo that is very hard for Lt. Watada to imagine but he’s prepared to do what he needs to do.”

Watada is still in the Army — working a desk job at Fort Lewis. It’s possible while Watada awaits the outcome of his case, his former unit could be deployed again.


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