Joe Glenton, the British Army Lance Corporal who refused to return to fight in Afghanistan, was released from military prison on July 12.
Glenton was jailed in March after going absent without leave from the army in 2007. He had previously spent seven months in Afghanistan as part of the US-led military occupation. He campaigned against the occupation, speaking at an anti-war demonstration in October.
Glenton was greeted by about 30 supporters and dozens of reporters outside the Military Corrective Training Centre in Colchester, Counterfire.org said on July 13.
The article said: “Some of his supporters had waited over an hour and a half in the pouring rain to pay tribute to the brave stand Joe Glenton took.”
Colchester Stop the War group had organised fortnightly protests against Glenton’s jailing and to celebrate his courage in speaking out, Counterfire.org said.
A poll carried out by the International Council on Security and Development (ICOS) in Afghanistan’s Kandahar and Helmand provinces in June found 70% believed recent military actions in their area were bad for the Afghan people and 59% opposed further operations in Kandahar.
It found 74% believed it was wrong to work with foreign forces, 68% believed the military occupation did not protect them and 55% of interviewees believed those occupying Afghanistan were doing so for their own benefit, to destroy or occupy the country, or to destroy Islam.
An August 2009 poll found more than two thirds of British people wanted British forces to leave Afghanistan, an August 23, 2009 Reuters article said.
Counterfire.org said: “The huge personal sacrifice that Joe made to speak the truth about the war and the sense of injustice at his imprisonment galvanised a Stop the War group into being in Colchester, one of Britain’s largest garrison towns. We are sure that Joe Glenton will remain an inspiration to the Stop the War movement.”