Solidarity with U.S. AWOL soldier André Shepherd
Invitation to court hearing on asylum case, and meeting with the press afterwards
On 16 November 2016, the Munich Administrative Court will be hearing the case of the request for asylum submitted in November 2008 by the 39-year-old AWOL U.S. soldier André Shepherd.
André Shepherd was deployed to Iraq for six months as an Apache helicopter mechanic in 2004. After returning on leave to his unit stationed in Katterbach, Bavaria, he seriously deliberated the effects of U.S. military action on the civilian population in Iraq. After long deliberation, he decided to go AWOL (Absent WithOut Leave), and then seek refuge in Germany, as he could no longer be an accomplice to war crimes. André Shepherd based his application for political asylum on the European Union's Qualification Directive, which is intended to protect those who refuse to participate in a war or other activities that violate international law, and who may expect persecution as a consequence.
Most recently, the European Court of Justice on 26 February 2015 set forth principles for the proceedings at the Munich Administrative Court on Sheperd's asylum application. In these, it granted Sheperd the right, as an Apache helicopter mechanic indirectly participating in the war, to invoke the Qualification Directive. However, it placed large obstacles in the way of a grant of asylum.
"The proceedings in André Shepherd's precedent-setting case are now finally continuing in Munich," Rudi Friedrich of the conscientious objectors' network Connection e.V. said today.
"There is a lot involved, including how the U.S.A. waged war in Iraq, protection for a decision of conscience, and also the right of soldiers to refuse to participate in, and evade wars and activities that are in violation of international law."
Bernd Mesovic of PRO ASYL added "In view of current wars and methods of warfare that are in violation of international law, it is a question of fundamental importance whether people who evade illegal wars are given protection. The court's decision will send a message to others."
André Shepherd himself, who has been awarded the Panther Prize of the taz national daily newspaper and PRO ASYL's Human Rights Prize, is quite hopeful about his case: "We hope to get a positive ruling in our favor. I’m confident that we have a very good case with convincing arguments for the court."
Pro Asyl, the conscientious objectors' network Connection e.V., the Bavarian Refugee Council, the German Peace Association (DFG-VK), Bavarian section, and the Munich American Peace Committee (MAPC) invite you to come to Munich for this.
Wednesday, 16 November 2016 in Munich
12:45: André Shepherd and his supporters will be available in front of the courthouse
1:30 p.m.: Hearing in the Administrative Court, Bayerstr. 30, Room 7
Afterwards: Meeting with the press at restaurant Bavaria, Bayerstr. 81
Further information at: www.Connection-eV.org/en_shepherd
Pro Asyl, Connection e.V., Bavarian Refugee Council, German Peace Society (DFG-VK), Bavarian section, and Munich American Peace Committee (MAPC): Press Release, November 3, 2016