Resister to Iraq offers to testify before Congress about torture of Iraqi detainees that he witnessed at US military base at Al Assad in May 2003
by Citizen Soldier, 12 May 2004

Staff Sgt. Camilo Mejia, 28, of Miami, FL, an activated Florida National Guard soldier, is currently awaiting court martial for desertion at Ft Stewart, GA This charge is directly related to his having absented from his unit because he never again wished to witness mistreatment of Iraqi detainees.

Mejia bases his legal defense against the charge that he wrongfully failed to return to Iraq on violations of international law which authorized him to absent himself from further duty. So far, the Pentagon has only investigated torture of detainees by its troops from October-December 2003 at the Abu Ghraib prison.

When Sgt. Mejia surrendered at Ft. Stewart on March 16, 2004, he submitted a formal application for discharge as a conscientious objector to Major General William G. Webster, Jr., Commanding General of the base. On pages 29-32 of this application, Mejia provides details of the torture and abuse of detainees which he witnessed at Al Assad, in early May, 2003. Apparently, no one from General Webster's staff has investigated these serious allegations during the six week period since they received the CO application.

When Mejia is called to testify before a Congressional committee, Louis Font, his civilian attorney, will file a formal request with Major General Webster asking him to lift his order restricting Sgt. Mejia to Ft. Stewart, so  that he and his attorneys can travel to Washington, DC to testify.

Tod Ensign, director of Citizen Soldier, a non profit GI rights advocacy group, has provided two members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Hilary Clinton (D-NY) and Carl Levin (ranking Democratic member from MI) with details about the nature of Mejia's testimony and requested that they arrange for him to be called as a witness to assist their committee's investigation.

Further info contact: Tod Ensign, Dir., Citizen Soldier (212) 679-2250

Tod Ensign was a major figure in the Veterans Against Vietnam War organisation in the 70s and 80s.  In his book "Home to War", Geraldo Nicosia mentions him a number of times.

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