A US Army female soldier who fled to Canada to avoid fighting in the Iraq war has been arrested in the US after the Canadian government ordered her deportation.
The War Resisters Support Campaign said that Kimberly Rivera was immediately arrested at the border at Gananoque, Ont. and transferred to US military custody.
“Kimberly now awaits punishment for refusing to return to Iraq, a conflict which Kimberly and Canada determined was wrong,” the anti-war campaign group said in a statement.
Rivera served as an Army private in Iraq in 2006. Upon her return to the US, she said she had become disillusioned with its cause and thought it was “immoral.”
She escaped to Canada in 2007 and sought refugee status after she was ordered to be redeployed to the war zone.
Canadian authorities dismissed her claim and ordered her deportation in 2009, apparently believing that she would receive a stiff punishment for desertion. She appealed against the decision but lost her appeal last month.
Rivera’s supporters said the Canadian government’s decision to deport the Army private clearly demonstrated that conscientious objectors to the Iraq war are targeted for punishment.
“It doesn’t get any clearer that this,” said Ken Marciniec, a spokesman for the War Resisters Support Campaign, adding that “The risk that we’ve pointed out, of Iraq War resisters being punished as prisoners of conscience, isn’t just risk. It’s fact. Kim’s case today proves that.”
Rivera is one of an estimated 200 war resisters who fled to Canada during the Iraq conflict. Her lawyer says she faces between two and five years in prison.