After NYCLU Files Lawsuit, Army Grants Honorable Discharge to Soldier Who Objects to War

Affiliate: ACLU of New York
May 26, 2006 12:00 am

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NEW YORK — Under pressure from a New York Civil Liberties Union lawsuit, the U.S. Army has granted Conscientious Objector (C.O.) status and honorable discharge to Sergeant Corey D. Martin, whom the Army previously had tried to deploy while his C.O. application was still pending, the NYCLU announced today.

“We’re thrilled to have thwarted the army’s effort to subvert Corey Martin’s application and deploy him to a combat zone,” said NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman. “The Army has finally granted him the fair and constitutional treatment he deserves.”

Martin was stationed at Fort Drum, New York as a Sergeant . He applied for discharge as a Conscientious Objector in December 2005 after realizing that he was ethically opposed to war. The Army granted first-level approval to Martin’s application for C.O. status, but then, while two more levels of approval were still pending, it informed Sergeant Martin that he would be deployed to Afghanistan on March 14, 2006.

In response, the NYCLU filed a federal lawsuit on Martin’s behalf and obtained an injunction to prevent the Army from deploying Martin to Afghanistan while the application was pending.

Last week Martin was finally awarded his official C.O. status and has now been honorably discharged from the army. Next week the NYCLU will ask a federal judge in Syracuse to dismiss the lawsuit.

Martin joined the Army in 2001, received excellent performance evaluations as a soldier, and was promoted to Sergeant. But beginning in the winter of 2002 he began to have personal doubts about war, and he undertook a personal study of texts on war and peace, the NYCLU said. By the fall of 2005, Sergeant Martin realized that he opposed all war morally and ethically and that he could no longer participate as a soldier in the U.S. Army.

The Army Investigating Officer who reviewed Martin’s C.O. application in the first round of the three-step process recommended that the application be approved. He determined that Sergeant Martin “is sincere in his beliefs of conscientious objection … with the underlying belief as his opposition to all wars and the unintentional consequence which war produces, which is casualties and suffering it produces to innocent civilians.”

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