Judge Declares Mistrial In Watada Court-Martial

Brian Zick

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Mike Barber for the Seattle Post Intelligencer reports: FORT LEWIS -- The court-martial of 1st Lt. Ehren Watada ended in a mistrial Wednesday.The case's just, Lt. Col. John Head, declared the trial over after a day of wrangling over a stipulation of facts that Watada had signed before the trial and that would have been part of the instructions to the jury. The judge decided that Watada never intended when he signed the stipulation to mean that he had a duty to go to Iraq with his unit.Again the issue was Watada's views on the Iraq war -- opinions that kept him from going with his unit to the conflict and that the jHead didn't want brought up at the court-martial.Watada, a Stryker Brigade soldier, is the first commissioned officer to refuse to be deployed to Iraq. Watada's unit left this sprawling base for Iraq in June, but Watada remained behind. He said he believes the war is illegal and that his duty is to not abide by illegal orders.

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