Prisoner of Conscience – Staff Sergeant Camilo Mejia Castillo

Camilo Mejia: ” I am only a regular person that got tired of being afraid to follow his own conscience. For far too long I allowed others to direct my actions even when I knew that they were wrong….To those who have called me a coward I say that they are wrong, and that without knowing it, they are also right. They are wrong when they think that I left the war for fear of being killed. I admit that fear was there, but there was also the fear of killing innocent people, the fear of putting myself in a position where to survive means to kill, there was the fear of losing my soul in the process of saving my body, the fear of losing myself to my daughter, to the people who love me, to the man I used to be, the man I wanted to be. I was afraid of waking up one morning to realize my humanity had abandoned me.”

Read his full story

Human Rights organization, Amnesty International, supported Camilo Mejia: “Amnesty International has adopted Camilo Mejia as a prisoner of conscience and calls for his immediate and unconditional release. He is the first soldier known to be tried for “desertion” after service in combat in the current Iraq conflict. Amnesty International believes he has been imprisoned for his conscientious objection to the war in Iraq despite having taken reasonable steps to secure his discharge from the army.”

Amnesty International Profile for Camilo Mejia

Selective conscientious objection to war service gets new push