Conflict & Justice

1st female Iraq war resister to be court martialed

The first female soldier to flee the US military and head to Canada to avoid the Iraq war is to be court martialed today.

Pfc. Kimberly Rivera is charged with desertion and faces up to five years in prison if convicted. She could also be dishonorably discharged.

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Rivera was assigned to Fort Carson's 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team in Colorado and served in Iraq in 2006. She crossed the Canadian border while on a two-week leave in the US in 2007 after she was told she was to serve another tour in Iraq.

The Colorado soldier applied for permanent residency in Canada, but Canadian immigration officials in January 2009 ordered the mother of four and her family to leave the country or they would be deported. Rivera was arrested at the border in 2012 and taken into military custody.

The War Resisters Support Campaign advocated on Rivera's behalf and encouraged people to send letters of support while the soldier was in custody. It said a lot of people sympathized with her "because of her conscientious decision that she could no longer participate in the Iraq war."

"Kim faces a very difficult road ahead, and we will be doing everything we can to make sure she and her family continue to have the support they will need in the US," the group said on its website last year.