PRESS RELEASE: Travis Bishop held incommunicado at Fort Lewis Brig, Attorneys ask why?

ARMY PRISONERS ISOLATED AT FORT LEWIS, DENIED RIGHT TO LEGAL COUNSEL

September 17th, 2009 – Fort Lewis, WA – War resistor Travis Bishop is being held incommunicado, in the Northwest Joint Regional Correctional Facility at Fort Lewis, and is even being denied his legal right to counsel, a violation of the Sixth Amendment to the US Constitution. Attorney Legrand Jones was denied access to Bishop, on the grounds that he is on an unnamed and unobtainable “watchlist,” which constitutes deprivation of counsel. Since his incarceration, Bishop’s condition is unclear due to being completely cut off from the public.

Fellow incarcerated soldier Leo Church has been able to reach his lawyer, but the call was monitored by a guard, violating his attorney-client privilege.

Both Bishop and Church have been prevented from adding any names to their respective “authorized contacts” lists (even for family members),which effectively cuts them off from almost all contact with the outside world. Mail and commissary funds sent by friends and supporters will likely be “returned to sender” due to this cruel and inhumane policy.

According to the lead attorney on the cases of Bishop and Church, James Branum, the actions of officials at Fort Lewis have violated his clients’ constitutional rights.

“Bishop and Church’s defense team and supporters are in the process of negotiating with Ft. Lewis officials to ensure transparency and that Bishop and Church’s legal rights are being met. The unusual circumstances of isolation of these soldiers is unquestionably illegal,” Branum said. “But if Fort Lewis doesn’t change its ways, we will be forced to go to court and demand justice.”

War resistor, and according to Amnesty International, prisoner of conscience, Travis Bishop arrived in Fort Lewis September 9th to serve a 12 month sentence in the Regional Correctional Facility. Bishop refused orders to Afghanistan based on religious reasons. He was stationed at Fort Hood, TX and was court marshaled by the Army for his beliefs.

He joined Leo Church, another Fort Hood soldier who went AWOL (Absent Without Leave) to prevent his wife and children from becoming homeless. Leo received 8 months jail time because he put the safety and welfare of his children over his obligation to the Army. Leo tried to get help from his unit, but was denied.

For additional information contact Seth Manzel at GI Voice or visit
https://freetravisbishop.wordpress.com/ or http://freeleochurch.wordpress.com/ (You can donate to Travis Bishop’s defense fund at: http://tr.im/donate2travis)

G.I. Voice is a place for service members and their families around Fort Lewis to gather and share information, as well as a resource for those facing problems with service. It is the parent organization for COFFEE STRONG, a GI coffee house located outside of Fort Lewis.

Contact:Seth Manzel, Executive Director
GI Voice
253-228-8912

James M. Branum
Civilian Defense Attorney for Travis Bishop and Leo Church
405-476-5620 or 866-933-2769
girightslawyer@gmail.com

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One Response to “PRESS RELEASE: Travis Bishop held incommunicado at Fort Lewis Brig, Attorneys ask why?”

  1. One thing that is very obviously beyond the lawyers and most others comprehension. As a soldier, you relinquish certain rights. They can hold you in a manner which would seem to violate constitutional law or in other similary disparate manners. These are rights that you voluntarily waive when you enlist. Your oath is to support and defend the constitution….unfortunately to do so you must relinquish many freedoms enjoyed by others. I disagree with our primace for combat in Iraq, but I would go if ordered.

    Also, you must swear(of affirm) that you are not a conscious objector and that you will obey the lawful orders of those appointed over you. To violate this is a violation of what each soldier swore to do. They conciously accepted the terms of their enlistment.

    More than likely Bishop enlisted in a time after the war had started, so he should have been completely aware of the risks that he assumed by enlisting.

    I am sorry. It is commendable that he is willing to stand for his own beliefs, but this is something that should have been explored prior to enlistment. He has little legal recourse.

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