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U.S. deserter denied asylum in Germany

April 6, 2011 at 8:15 AM

BERLIN, April 6 (UPI) -- A U.S. soldier who deserted to avoid redeployment to Iraq has been denied asylum in Germany, the German government said.

Andre Shepherd, an Apache helicopter mechanic based in Germany, went into hiding in 2007 when he learned that his unit, the 412th Aviation Support Battalion, was being sent back to Iraq, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

A native of Cleveland, Shepherd stayed underground for 18 months with the aid of peace groups in Germany.

He surfaced in late 2008 and petitioned for asylum in Germany on grounds he would have been forced to participate in war crimes if he returned to Iraq.

In a statement issued this week, Germany rejected Shepherd's petition saying it failed to cite concrete examples of war crimes committed during his first deployment in 2004-05.

The German government hasn't said whether it will try to deport Shepherd.

Shepherd's lawyer, Reinhard Marx, has told reporters his client will probably contest the asylum decision.

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