The soldiers, who
face court martial and up to five years in prison in the United
States, may remain in Canada while their case is under appeal.
Hinzman, who had served as a cook in Afghanistan, fled from the 82nd
Airborne Division three years ago. Hughey slipped past military
police in Texas in 2004, a day before his unit was scheduled to go
The refugee board turned down their claims also because the soldiers
were not opposed to war in general, but to a specific war. It said
they would not face excessive punishment if they went back to the
United States and said Hinzman's willingness to serve, but only in a
non-combat role, was "inherently contradictory."
"Our view is that if the United States does not recognize that
people have a right, under the U.N jurisprudence, to object to
certain types of wars, then they can't go to the U.S for protection,
they have to come to Canada," House said.
House said the cases had became politicized and the refugee board
had viewed the case through a political prism rather than on the
basis of refugee law.
The Immigration and Refugee Board operates at arms-length from the
Canadian government, which declined to send troops to Iraq without a
There are believed to be some 200 U.S. deserters from the Iraq war
in Canada, and several are awaiting hearings on their asylum claims.
It's believed between 40,000 and 60,000 U.S. war dodgers fled to
Canada during the Vietnam War.