Archive for February, 2010

WAR RESISTER TRAVIS BISHOP GETS THREE MONTH REDUCTION IN SENTENCE

Posted in Uncategorized on February 10, 2010 by James M. Branum

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WAR RESISTER TRAVIS BISHOP GETS THREE MONTH REDUCTION IN SENTENCE
Hundreds of letters from supporters credited with large part in victory

February 10, 2010

FORT HOOD, Texas – Sergeant Travis Bishop received word this week that he was given a 3 month suspension, of the 12 month sentence he received last year for refusing to deploy to Afghanistan based on his Christian religious beliefs against war.

Lt. General Robert Cone, commanding general of Fort Hood approved the sentence reduction on February 4th after considering Sgt. Bishop’s clemency application.

Sgt. Bishop’s clemency application included a legal brief (alleging problems at trial, problems with the processing of Bishop’s conscientious objector claim, and mistreatment at the Fort Lewis brig), a hand-written letter from Sgt. Bishop, and 433 letters (signed by a total of 538 people from 21 different countries) from members of Amnesty International calling for Sgt. Bishop to be released.

Sgt. Bishop’s civilian attorney, James M. Branum, estimates that Sgt. Bishop will be released no later than March 31 based on the amount of good behavior credit Sgt. Bishop has earned.

In an emotional response, Sgt. Bishop asked his legal team to relay this message to the public, “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you to everyone who wrote letters and supported me! This is amazing and unprecedented.”

Sgt. Bishop went on to say that his plans after release are to see his family and friends and then “to try to start this new life that I’ve been granted. I think it is safe to say my life has been completely changed by this. I won’t be going to what my life was like before. Lots of changes are in store for me.” Sgt. Bishop said he hopes to continue to speak out against war and will be returning to Texas to pursue a career as a country musician.

Sgt. Bishop also said he had no regrets and that he urges others who are feeling moral conflicts with war to follow their conscience, but to not wait as long as he did to get help.

According to Mr. Branum, there are many who had a role in securing Sgt. Bishop’s early release. These people include:

* Jeff Paterson, Sarah Lazare and everyone else at Courage to Resist
* Chuck Luther (fearless G.I. Advocate and head of Disposablewarriors.com),
* CPT Glendening with the US Army Trial Defense Services (trial co-counsel)
* Cynthia Thomas (director of the Under the Hood G.I. Coffee house in Killeen),
* Victor Agosto (fellow Afghanistan war resister)
* Michael Kern, and the rest of the Fort Hood chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War,
* the many Texans who traveled to Fort Hood to attend Travis’ trial and to protest in the weeks he was being held in the Bell County jail,
* Dahr Jamail and Eric Thompson (who provided compelling first-hand account reporting from the trial),
* Legrand Jones (post-trial co-counsel at Fort Lewis),
* the London office of Amnesty International,
* Seth Manzell (director of Coffee Strong, the GI coffee house at Fort Lewis),
* Gerry Condon, president of Greater Seattle Veterans For Peace, and all of the other local supporters of Travis in the Tacoma-Seattle area,
* the 538 people who wrote letters of support for Travis
* the many people who have written letters to Travis while he has been in the brig at Fort Lewis.”

Supporters of Sgt. Bishop are urged to continue to write him (instructions on how to do this can be found at http://www.couragetoresist.org) and also to donate to help cover his post-trial defense costs (you can do this at http://www.couragetoresist.org/travis/)

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For more information or to schedule an interview about this subject, please contact James Branum (lead defense counsel for Mr. Bishop, 405-476-5620) or Cynthia Thomas (Director of the Under the Hood G.I. Coffee house, 254-768-8300). Fort Lewis Brig policies generally forbid inmates from doing interviews with the press, but you are welcome to see if an exception can be made by contacting the Fort Lewis Public affairs office at (253)967-0147 or (253)967-0152.

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