Joe Glenton, first soldier in Europe to have publicly refused to go to Afghanistan, has been serving a nine-month sentence from 5 March when he was court-martialled. He has been harassed by the prison authorities because he remains defiant. We are protesting against Joe’s mistreatment and demanding his immediate release at the 21 April appeal at the Royal Courts in London.
Problems started after complaints that he was not receiving books sent by supporters. On Thursday 8th April, he was told he was to be disciplined after claims he insulted an officer.
Joe denies that he insulted an officer – his lawyer’s application that he be represented at the disciplinary hearing was refused.
The prison authorities are trying to force Joe to sleep under an unwashed and dirty blanket – a punishment that often leads prisoners to get body lice, and to wear boots despite the fact he has a broken toe.
Joe has refused the ‘blanket’ punishment: he is now threatened with solitary confinement.
He has been denied treatment for post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) despite promises made by the judge who sentenced him. (See Stop the War Coalition)
Joe has been scapegoated by the military because he dared to make his refusal public. First he was given a sentence harsher than those given to others convicted of absence without leave. Now he is being punished with petty cruelty and denied the treatment his health condition requires.
As the killing of Afghani civilians by the US-led coalition forces continues, and the protests grow in Afghanistan and internationally, it is critical to defend those who, like Joe Glenton, refuse to be part of this blood bath. Many individuals and organisations in the UK and worldwide have protested against Joe’s court martial. Over 1,200 people from 40 countries signed our letter of protest and organisations in eight countries demonstrated or took other actions.
We have written to the Ministry of Defence and to the Military Corrective Training Centre where Joe is detained, and have invited individuals and organisations to send similar messages.
On 21 April from 9.30 am, we will join the picket of the Royal Courts of Justice on The Strand in London (called by the Stop the War Coalition) to support Joe and his family, to make this international protest known and to demand the immediate release of Joe Glenton.