U.S. AWOL Soldier André Shepherd’s Application for Political Asylum
2004: André Shepherd joined the U.S. Army, and, after training, was deployed to Iraq for six months as an Apache-Helicopter mechanic.
2005: After returning to his unit, stationed in Katterbach, Bavaria, he seriously deliberated the effects of U.S. military action on the civilian population in Iraq. „Finally I knew that if I went back, I would be responsible for the deaths and misery of others.“
2007: In April, after André Shepherd was informed that he would be ordered to return to action in Iraq, he left his unit and went underground in Germany.
2008: November 26, he applied for political asylum in Germany. In his application, André Shepherd appealed to the Qualifications Directive of the European Union. This rule guarantees dissenting soldiers protection for refusal of participation in illegal wars or actions which violate human rights, and for this reason could face persecution and punishment
2011: March 31, the Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge [Federal Bureau of Migration and Refugees] rejected the application, despite wide public support for Shepherd. His lawyer appealed against the decision.
2013: The Munich Administrative Court canceled a scheduled hearing and submitted a request for a preliminary ruling to the European Court of Justice in Luxemburg, with the purpose of examining „the degree to which an involvement in military hostilities is necessary, in order to offer the right of refugee status to a military deserter,in danger of being punished for his desertion.“
2014: The European Court of Justice scheduled a public hearing for June 25. “It is good to see that there is progress in the case”, so André Shepherd. “We hope that the European Court not only has the will, but the courage to take a stand for the right to freedom of conscience. Other soldiers should feel assured that their decision to refuse participation in wars or crimes in violation of international law will be supported.”
2015: February 26, The European Court of justice published its preliminary ruling.
2016: In November the Administrative Court in Munich heard the case on the basis of the preliminary ruling to decide on Shepherd’s asylum application. In the decision the court rejected the asylum application of André Shepherd.
2017: The attorney of André Shepherd made an appeal against the decision of the Administrative Court. The case is still pending.
Connection e.V.: U.S. AWOL Soldier André Shepherd’s Application for Political Asylum - A Chronology. January 1, 2021