Reservist loses appeal over going AWOL during Iraq conflict

The RAF reservist convicted of going absent without leave (AWOL) after refusing to fight in the Iraq war has lost his High Court Appeal.

Muslim Mohisin Khan, an aircraftsman and medic said he would not fight due to his religious beliefs and went to court overturn the RAF’s decision to prosecute him and fine him nine days pay and a week’s privileges.

He absconded from training between 24 February and 5 March last year.

However, the High Court dismissed Khan’s claim that there had been a breach of his right to manifest his religion under Article 9 of the Human Rights Convention, since he had not registered as a conscientious objector, despite knowing the rules.

The judges decided that Khan had gone AWOL “before any indication whatsoever of any conscientious objection, despite every opportunity of making his concerns known”.

Following the decision, Khan said he was “heartened that the court agreed that the right of conscientious objection on religious grounds needs to be clearly spelt out in the legislation”.

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