RAF conscientious objector imprisoned

Received by e-mail from UK Pledge of Resistance:

Yesterday, Malcolm Kendall-Smith, a Flight Lieutenant with the RAF was jailed for 8 months for refusing to go to Iraq on the grounds that the war was illegal.

Please e-mail your messages of support for him to: justin@roselaw.co.uk

The following statement from Kendall-Smith appeared on the front-cover of today’s Independent:

I have been convicted and sentenced, a very distressing experience. But I still believe I was right to make the stand that I did and refuse to follow orders to deploy to Iraq – orders I believe were illegal. I am resigned to what may happen to me in the next few months. I shall remain resilient and true to my beliefs which, I believe, are shared by so many others.

Iraq was the only reason I could not follow the order to deploy. As a commissioned officer, I am required to consider every order given to me. Further, I am required to consider the legality of such an order not only as to its effect on domestic but also international law. I was subjected, as was the entire population, to propaganda depicting force against Iraq to be lawful. I have studied in very great depth the various commentaries and briefing notes, including one prepared by the Attorney General, and in particular the main note to the PM dated 7 March 2003. I have satisfied myself that the actions of the armed forces with the deployment of troops were an illegal act – as indeed was the conflict. To comply with an order that I believe unlawful places me in breach of domestic and international law, something I am not prepared to do.

The invasion and occupation of Iraq is a campaign of imperial military conquest and falls into the category of criminal acts. I would have had criminal responsibility vicariously if I had gone to Iraq. I still have two great loves in life – medicine and the RAF. To take the decision that I did caused great sadness, but I had no other choice.

See our last posts on Kendall-Smith and conscientious objection.