Socialist Worker

Life in prison for army refuseniks

Issue No. 2002

New Labour MPs showed their contempt for military families on Monday of this week by voting overwhelmingly to threaten life imprisonment for military personnel who refuse to participate in the occupation of subjugated territories.

Currently, military personnel can only face life imprisonment for deserting or refusing to fight in wars. Only 19 MPs voted for an amendment opposing the government’s plan to extend penalty to those refusing to take part in occupations.

Moving the amendment, Labour MP John McDonnell paid tribute to the courage of Ben Griffin from the SAS and Flight Lieutenant Malcolm Kendall-Smith, who have both refused to serve in the occupation of Iraq.

“The bill is really about Iraq,” he said. “The number of absconders has trebled since the invasion. There has been an increase in the numbers of soldiers questioning the morality and legality of the occupation and an increase in the number of serving personnel speaking out.”

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Tue 23 May 2006, 17:51 BST
Issue No. 2002
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