Anti-war sailors bid to leave

your view Walrus-Class Submarine

Walrus-Class Submarine 'HNLMS WALRUS' of the Royal Netherlands Navy inbound to Portsmouth on a weekend visit.
Picture: Tony Weaver

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TWO Royal Navy sailors were granted the right to leave the service because of moral, political or religious objections to the war in Afghanistan, official figures disclose. A third – Royal Navy medic Michael Lyons – was unsuccessful in his bid.

Mr Lyons, 24, from Plymouth, Devon, became the first serviceman in 14 years to appear before the Advisory Committee on Conscientious Objectors, which hears appeals from those seeking a discharge on moral grounds.

He told the panel he felt unable to serve in Afghanistan in the wake of revelations about civilian casualties by whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks.

But the committee rejected Mr Lyons’ objections and upheld the decision of his commanding officer to refuse his application.

No members of the Army have sought to be classified as conscientious objectors since UK forces joined US-led attacks on Afghanistan in 2001, according to details in a Freedom of Information request.

Two RAF personnel requested the status in 2003 and another two in 2005.