Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Sailor Faces Special Court-Martial

A Disgraceful Navy Sailor who refused to board a Persian Gulf-bound ship because of his opposition to the war in the Iraq will face a special court-martial - the military equivalent of a civilian misdemeanor trial, the Navy announced Friday. The Navy said it has referred criminal charges of absence without leave and missing the movement of a ship against Petty Officer 3rd Class Pablo Paredes, 23. He faces a maximum of one year in jail, forfeiture of pay, reduction in rank and a bad-conduct discharge if he's convicted. No date for a court-martial has been set. Paredes remains assigned to a transient personnel unit at Naval Base San Diego, said Navy spokeswoman Capt. Jacquie Yost. He is required to show up for work every day but is free to leave the base at the end of the day. Jeremy Warren, a civilian attorney who is representing Paredes, said his client is looking forward to defending himself and moving on with his life. "He wasn't naive, and he didn't expect the Navy would turn a blind eye to it, but he is glad that they're not seeking a general court-martial" - a proceeding reserved for the most serious offenses, Warren said. Paredes, of New York City, has applied for contentious objector status, and a decision is expected next week, Warren said. A Navy chaplain who met with Paredes in January wrote it was "morally imperative" his request be granted, Warren said. Paredes, a weapons-control technician who joined the Navy in 2000, refused to board the USS Bonhomme Richard on Dec. 6 as it left for a six-month tour in the Pacific and Indian oceans. He has said he was young and naive when he joined the Navy and that he "never imagined in a million years we would go to war with somebody who had done nothing to us." (PUSS!)
Yellow Spined Coward Pablo Paredes

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