US arrests female army deserter

DAN BURNS
Last updated 14:12 21/09/2012

Relevant offers

Americas

Mother hits back at critics as grief over gorilla's death turns to outrage White House back to normal after security lockdown when suspicious package was found Photo shows Australian Rye Hunt walking through Brazilian airport before disappearing Why Donald Trump has a real chance to become president Bride and groom high and dry as wedding boat grounds Hit-and-run suspect 'tattooed her face and dyed her hair pink to evade arrest' Man killed falling down Denali, America's highest mountain Women 'stop a rape' after they witness man spiking his date's drink Shooting of gorilla in US zoo sparks outrage Hardly a dog's life for the Obama family's pets Bo and Sunny

The first female US soldier to seek refuge in Canada rather than return to duty in Iraq was arrested at the US border in northern New York State on Thursday after losing her bid to remain in Canada, according to an advocacy group that had campaigned on her behalf.

Kimberly Rivera, a 30-year-old private who served three months in Iraq and came to Canada while on leave in 2007, was taken into custody at the Thousand Islands Bridge border station about 48km north of Watertown, NY, said Michelle Robidoux, spokeswoman with the War Resisters Support Campaign.

‘‘She presented herself voluntarily, was arrested and taken to Fort Drum,’’ Robidoux said.

Fort Drum is about 21km east of Watertown. The Pentagon had no immediate comment.

Rivera, who had been living in Toronto with her partner and four children, deserted because she developed an opposition to the mission in Iraq, according to Robidoux.

She was denied refugee status by Canadian authorities and last month lost her appeal of a deportation order. She had been given until September 20 to leave the country.

Her case had drawn the attention of such international human rights advocates as retired Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who campaigned against apartheid in South Africa and urged Canadian authorities to allow Rivera to stay.

‘‘Despite all of the ghastliness in the world, human beings are made for goodness,’’ Tutu wrote in an opinion article earlier this week in Toronto’s Globe & Mail newspaper.

‘‘The ones who are held in high regard are not militarily powerful nor even economically prosperous. They have a commitment to try to make the world a better place. I truly believe that Kimberly Rivera is such a person, and that Canada can only benefit from allowing her to stay.’’

Robidoux said Rivera’s partner and children crossed into the United States separately from her on Thursday without incident.

‘‘We’re pretty upset on having this family being wrenched apart,’’ Robidoux said.

During the Vietnam War, Canada was a haven for tens of thousands of draft dodgers and deserters, but soldiers from Iraq, who were volunteers, have been met with little sympathy from the Canadian government. 

Ad Feedback

- Reuters

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content