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U.S. soldier argues for asylum in Germany

Andre Shepherd deserted after serving in Iraq, saying he didn't want to return to an illegal conflict.

February 05, 2009|Associated Press

BERLIN — A U.S. soldier who went AWOL after serving in Iraq argued for asylum in Germany at a closed hearing Wednesday in Karlsruhe.

U.S. Army Spc. Andre Shepherd walked off his unit's base near Katterbach, Germany, in April 2007 after returning from a six-month tour maintaining Apache helicopters in Tikrit, Iraq. He said he didn't want to return to an illegal conflict.

"We were completely lied to," said the soldier from the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade.

Shepherd, of Cleveland, was among 71 soldiers to desert European bases in 2008, but he is the first known to have sought asylum in Germany. If he succeeds, it could open a new door for soldiers looking to escape the military, supporters say. Rejection could find him handed over to the U.S. military or deported to the United States.

The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees will take months to conduct an investigation before ruling.

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