NATIONWIDE WATADA VIGILS:
1st & 3rd SATURDAYS Beginning Nov 3rd
Watada supporters are organizing vigils on the 1st & 3rd Saturdays of each month beginning Nov 3, 2007 to have the ongoing presence of Watada supporters SEEN and HEARD.
Organizers may click here to access the template for a flyer to inform Watada supporters in your city or region.
Send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org with information re the vigils planned for your city -- dates, time, location & address, and contact information -- so the info can be included on the website.
“I refuse to be silent any longer. I refuse to be a party to an illegal and immoral war against people who did nothing to deserve our aggression. My oath of office is to protect and defend America’s laws and its people. By refusing unlawful orders for an illegal war, I fulfill that oath today.”
-- Lt. Ehren Watada
Lt. Watada’s statement that the Iraq war is illegal and immoral has resonated with peace activists across the country and garnered national and international support. In addition, Lt. Watada contends that according to military law, he could be found guilty of participating in a crime against the peace and war crimes if he were to participate in the illegal intervention in Iraq.
With the Army convening a second court martial against him, peace activists are organizing vigils on the first and third Satudays of each month until the army drops all charges against Lt. Watada and releases him with an honorable discharge.
On October 5th, U.S. District Court Judge Benjamin Settle issued an emergency stay to temporarily halt the second trial against Lt. Watada. The stay has been extended to November 9, 2007.
Watada supporters believe Judge Settle should rule against a second trial or, at the very least, extend the stay until the double jeopardy issue is resolved.
Lt. Watada seeks dismissal of all charges by the court and an honorable discharge from the Army. Under normal circumstances, his term of service would have expired in December 2006. However, the discharge has been delayed due to the pending charges.
Lieutenant Watada was tried by court martial in February, 2007 with charges of "missing movement" for failing to deploy and "conduct unbecoming an officer" for his statements opposing the war. After the prosecution completed its case, military judge Lt. Col. John Head intervened, declared a mistrial, and ordered Lt. Watada to be retried.
A second trial will violate one of the most fundamental constitutional protections of the rule of law: the prohibition against "double jeopardy." The Fifth Amendment states that no person shall be "subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb."
Without a prohibition on double jeopardy, the government could simply halt a trial whenever matters don't go well for the prosecution, which is what happened in the first trial. This attempt to convene a second court martial represents one more Bush-era encroachment of the "all-powerful state" on basic human rights and the rule of law.
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 13 November 2007 )