August 30, 2006
KEVIN BENDERMAN RELEASED
FROM FT. LEWIS MILITARY CORRECTIONS FACILITY
On July 27, 2005, in a military court martial held at Ft. Stewart, Georgia, Sgt. Kevin Benderman was convicted of Missing Movement for allegedly refusing to board a plane for a second deployment to Iraq.
Sgt. Benderman had filed an application for Conscientious Objector status in 2004. This application was ignored, mishandled, and disrespected by every level of command in an effort to punish this 10-year veteran for exercising his rights and making a choice of conscience against the wishes of his command. Sgt. Benderman did not fit the military mold of a Conscientious Objector - he did not cite religious verses, he could not recount his moment of epiphany - but Sgt. Benderman did listen to his conscience.
During his combat tour in Iraq, his conscience told him that orders given by his command were questionable and positioned soldiers in his unit in avoidably hazardous situations.
During his service at Ft. Stewart in preparation for a second deployment to Iraq, Sgt. Benderman witnessed continued abuse of the soldiers he served with, faulty training methods and corruption on the part of a command who demanded respect from their units while continually violating their own oath of office and the regulations they had sworn to uphold.
Sgt. Benderman took his oath as an NCO seriously, defending the soldiers he served with, speaking out against the actions of a corrupt command and adhering to the UCMJ in the process.
Sgt. Benderman exercised his rights as a citizen of the United States, and a volunteer in defense of the Constitution on which this country was founded. Acting on his conscience, and demonstrating his Freedom to Choose the principles on which he would serve, he took the legal remedy available to him and filed for Conscientious Objector status on the basis of morality and ethics. He could no longer participate in a war in which the actions of commanders and leaders violated International and National Laws, as well as the Laws of Humanity. Recognizing that all war is the same - he spoke out against further abuse of these laws in the name of Freedom and Democracy.
Sgt. Benderman received a 15-month prison sentence and has been confined at the Ft. Lewis Regional Corrections Facility, Ft. Lewis, WA since August 1, 2005.
During his time at Ft. Lewis Sgt. Benderman continued to face abuses of his Constitutional Rights, and witnessed more of the same against others who served time as well. Flagrant violations against military regulations as well as human rights were evident on the part of the command and cadre at the military Regional Corrections Facility where he was incarcerated. These violations have been documented and have been brought to the attention of military investigators as well as Congressional Representatives.
One week ago, Sgt. Benderman was released from confinement and has returned home. His case is currently on appeal with the briefs to be considered sometime in late October 2006.
Kevin and Monica would like to thank everyone for their support over this past year, and hope that you will continue to support them with their future projects.
In the months to come they will be addressing the specifics of Kevin's case and their experiences of the past year of his confinement.
They will be speaking about their positions on Conscientious Objection, changes they believe must be made regarding soldiers' rights and working to give our veterans the respect they deserve for the service they have been given.
They will also be addressing their goals for working to return to the foundation of our country - the Constitution; recalling the principles and freedoms the founders of this country envisioned over 200 years ago.
For initial information regarding interviews or speaking opportunities or to learn more about ways in which you can support their efforts, please contact Kevin and Monica at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn about Kevin's case and their work please visit www.BendermanDefense.org and please find new essays by both Kevin and Monica, information regarding their upcoming projects, and more information on fund-raising and support assistance at Benderman Defense Trust.
Copyright 2006 The Benderman Foundation