Monday, March 8, 2010

Lance Corporal Joe Glenton jailed for nine months

From Friday's Guardian,
A British soldier who became a hero to anti-war activists after refusing to return to Afghanistan was jailed for nine months today, despite claims that he is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

"There are many soldiers in the army who have extremely unpleasant experiences, who watch friends die or suffer appalling injuries, but they have to return and do their duty," Judge Advocate Emma Peters told Lance Corporal Joe Glenton.

Glenton, 27, fled to Asia in mid-2007, before he was due to start a second tour in Afghanistan, staying abroad for two years before returning to speak at Stop the War rallies. He wrote to Gordon Brown to denounce the conflict and urge the return of all British troops.

The court martial in Colchester, Essex, sentenced him to nine months in a military jail for going absent without leave, after he pleaded guilty. He was also demoted to private. His family and supporters said Glenton, who served in Afghanistan for seven months with the Royal Logistics Corps in 2006, had been singled out because of his activism and would appeal.
From New Left Project,
A spokesperson for Stop the War said: "This extremely harsh sentence ignored many of the facts of the case; that Joe had post-traumatic stress disorder, that he had raised concerns about the war with his superiors and been bullied as a result, and that he had voluntarily returned to barracks after going absent without leave.

"The judge herself made it clear the sentence was not based on the facts of the case but on a desire to deter other members of the military from taking a stand of conscience."

She added: "Joe is a brave and defiant man. He left the court under guard with a clenched fist held high. His outspoken defiance and the national campaign to defend him had already forced the authorities to drop the much more serious charge of desertion."
Send messages of support to:
Lance Corporal Joe Glenton
Military Corrective Training Centre, Berechurch Hall Camp
Colchester CO2 9NU, UK

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