War resister deported, arrested

An American soldier who sought refuge in Canada after becoming disillusioned with the Iraq war has been arrested after turning herself over to the United States.

Kimberly Rivera complied with a deportation order and presented herself at the border at Gananoque, Ont., on Thursday.

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The War Resisters Support Campaign - which issued multiple warnings that Rivera would likely face a court martial and jail time on her return - said the mother of four was immediately arrested, detained and transferred to U.S. military custody.

"Kimberly now awaits punishment for refusing to return to Iraq, a conflict which Kimberly and Canada determined was wrong," the group said in a statement.

Rivera was being held in Fort Drum, N.Y., 360 kilometres from Toronto, and was waiting to be transferred to a different military facility where she faces punishment for being absent from her unit, the group said.

The 30-year-old's husband and her children - two of whom were born in Canada - crossed the border separately Thursday.

"She didn't want her children to see her arrested by the military," said spokesman Ken Marciniec.

The parliamentary secretary to Immigration Minister Jason Kenney confirmed the deportation in the House of Commons, drawing a huge cheer from the Conservative benches.

"Our government does not believe that the administration of the president or the president himself in any way, shape, or form, is going to persecute Ms. Rivera," Rick Dykstra said.

"In fact, she has had every opportunity in this country, despite the fact that not one of the applications from an American war deserter has been successful in Canada. Each and every one of them has been upheld by the Federal Court in terms of the Immigration and Refugee Board denying them."

Rivera's supporters - who had been hoping for a last-minute intervention from the government - said the army private's case clearly demonstrated that conscientious objectors to the Iraq war are targeted for punishment.

Rivera, who lived in Toronto with her family, came to Canada in 2007 to avoid further U.S. military service.

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