U.S. army deserter Jeremy Hinzman and his family were granted a last-minute stay of deportation on Monday, 22 September, by a Federal Court judge while the court decides whether to hear their appeal.
Jeremy Hinzman with his familyJeremy Hinzman, his wife and two children were ordered to leave Canada by 23 September 2008 or face forcible deportation to the United States, where the soldier faces prosecution for fleeing to Canada in 2004 rather than deploying with his army unit to Iraq.
The judge's decision will allow the family to remain in Toronto while the court decides whether to review a decision by Citizenship and Immigration officials not to let the Hinzmans remain in Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds. They are also trying to appeal their pre-removal risk assessment.
"Based on the evidence and submissions before me, I am satisfied that the applicants would suffer irreparable harm if a stay were not granted pending determination of their leave application," Justice Richard Mosley said in his three-page endorsement.
Earlier, Hinzman's lawyer, Alyssa Manning, argued that deserters who have been publicly critical of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq have received harsher punishment after returning to the U.S.
Last month, U.S. deserter Robin Long was sentenced to 15 months in prison after lawyers mentioned a media interview he had given in Canada before he was deported in July, Manning told the court.
As one of the first deserters to seek refuge in Canada rather than fight in Iraq, Hinzman's case has been even more public.
"He is the person associated with objections to the war in Iraq," Manning told the court.
Hinzman's claim for refugee status was rejected by the Immigration and Refugee Board in 2005. An appeal to the Federal Court of Appeal also failed, with the court ruling that he wouldn't face any serious punishment if he returned to the U.S.
The Supreme Court of Canada refused to hear his case.
Source: CBC News: U.S. army deserter, family win stay of deportation, 22 September 2008,
The Canadian Press: Judge grants U.S. deserter's last-ditch effort to stave off deportation, 22 September 2008