At a Glance
On January 15, 2010, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces refused to hear Mr. Mejia's appeal.
- Anjana Samant
Camilo E. Mejia is a former staff sergeant with the Florida National Guard who, in 2004, after over eight years of military service and a five-month tour in ar-Ramadi in southern Iraq, became the first Iraq war veteran to openly refuse to redeploy. Mr. Mejia based his refusal on his growing moral opposition to the war and to the specific orders given to his unit that involved the abuse of detainees.
As a result of his actions, Mr. Mejia faced a military court-martial and was charged with desertion with the intent to avoid hazardous duty. On May 21, 2004, he was sentenced to 12 months in a military prison, reduced in rank from staff sergeant to private, and given a bad conduct discharge. Mr. Mejia appealed the conviction and sentence to the Army Court of Criminal Appeals, which affirmed both the findings and the punishment.
The Center for Constitutional Rights and co-counsel filed a petition on Mr. Mejia's behalf requesting review of his case by the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces and seeking a reversal of his conviction, reinstatement of rank, and back pay, but the court refused to hear his appeal. CCR has represented U.S. soldiers and veterans in a variety of venues, and has a long history of opposing unjust and illegal wars.