U.S. Army Pfc. Kimberly Rivera was sentenced to 10 months in a military prison and a bad conduct discharge after pleading guilty to two counts of desertion according to a report in The Gazette of Colorado Springs.
The 30 year-old mother of four fled to Canada in 2007 to avoid a second tour in Iraq. Rivera was assigned to the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division based in Ft. Carson, Colo.
Rivera’s case made international headlines as she fought and lost a bid for her and her family to stay in Canada.
She was arrested late last year and placed into military custody.
During her trial judge Col. Timothy Grammel asked how long she intended to remain absent without leave.
“As long as I possibly could, sir,” Rivera said.
“I intended to quit my job permanently.”
She went on to say that the military, “doesn’t reflect who I want to be anymore.”
Rivera served as a gate guard in 2006 for Forward Operating Base Loyalty in Baghdad. Following her flight, Rivera made claims in an anti-war blog that she saw, “wounded, injured and killed civilians on a daily basis.”
Staff Staff Sgt. Amelia Nelson, a fellow solider in her unit, disputed the claims.
“Nothing like that had been seen at the front gate,” Nelson said during the trial.
Rivera’s case garnered her the support from the likes of Amnesty International, Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu and other anti-war groups.
“The sentence Kim received today underlines the concerns we have been raising all along, and what the Federal Court now acknowledges, that soldiers who speak out against unjust wars face harsher punishment and have no recourse within the U.S. military justice system,” read a Monday statement from Canadian anti-war group, War Resisters Support Campaign.