Civilian Judge Stalls Court-Martial of War Resister

A civilian court has stepped in on the case of war resister Ehren Watada, an Army first lieutenant who was facing court-martial for refusing to deploy to Iraq.

The federal judge in Tacoma has issued a preliminary injunction preventing the Army from going ahead with the court-martial, because the judge says the military court is ignoring Watada's constitutional right not to face double jeopardy. His first court-martial, earlier this year, ended in a mistrial.

The federal court's involvement gives Watada a much stronger chance of winning. But it would mean his central argument — that the Iraq war is illegal — will go untested in court.

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