October 19 update: U.S. District Court Judge Settle issued a postponement today giving himself at least until November 9 to review and weigh the “considerable portions” of the double jeopardy issue before him.
We demand: Stop the retrial, drop the charges, and honorable discharge now for Lt. Watada! Support all war resisters!
By Watada National Steering Committee. October 17, 2007
The Watada National Steering Committee of Friends and Family of 1st Lt. Ehren Watada urge to you act this week and next in support of Lt. Ehren Watada. He refused to fight in the illegal war in Iraq and is facing a possible second court martial and up to 6 years in prison.
Lt. Ehren Watada, the first Army officer to publicly refuse orders to Iraq, is now at a critical point in his struggle against the Army’s attempt to imprison him. The Army tried to proceed with a second court martial despite the fact that an appeal on the basis of double jeopardy was in progress in the Army courts. This was completely illegal and a violation of the Constitution. Just days before the second court martial was to be held, Lt. Watada’s lawyers went to federal court and requested an injunction to stop the Army from proceeding. At the very last moment, U.S. District Court Judge Benjamin H. Settle granted an emergency stay. The court martial is now postponed until at least Oct. 26. Meanwhile, Judge Settle will consider issues around double jeopardy in this case. It is unknown what decisions he might make.
For this reason, it is absolutely vital that Ehren Watada’s case get the maximum possible publicity and show of support! Judge Settle has set up a briefing schedule to examine the merits of the double jeopardy argument and how long he will continue the stay. The government has until Oct. 12 to file its arguments, and Watada’s lawyers must reply by Oct. 17. Judge Settle will review the case on Oct. 19.
The Watada campaign plans joint demonstrations with allied groups on Oct. 19th and Oct. 27th.
On Friday, Oct. 19, we will be working closely with our allies such as the Iraq Moratorium, Veterans for Peace, Iraq Veterans Against the War, and many others to stage demonstrations around the nation along with Iraq Moratorium. We call on all peace and justice groups everywhere to come to the support of Lt. Ehren Watada on Oct. 19! We urge everyone to hold or attend demonstrations carry signs supporting Ehren Watada and listing the three demands of the Watada Campaign:
- Stop the Army from putting Lt. Watada on trial again.
- Drop all charges against him.
- Free Lt. Ehren Watada with an honorable discharge.
On the weekend of Oct. 26 – 27, we will be participating in or holding demonstrations in support of Lt. Watada. This is the weekend of the Oct. 27 nationwide day of action called jointly by United for Peace & Justice and International A.N.S.W.E.R. We will be reaching out to them to work jointly where we can, or to have local events in cities and towns where they are not having an event.
Local groups who wish to support Lt. Watada can help by holding events or speaking about his case at events you are already planning, holding press conferences, writing articles in the media, or writing letters to the editor of your local media. In newspapers, the letters to the editor sections are among the most widely read sections of the paper. Letters must be short or they will not be published due to space; see the length of letters currently published in your local paper for examples.
Watada National Steering Committee