Navy objector loses appeal

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The Independent Online

A Royal Navy medic who objected to serving in Afghanistan in the wake of the WikiLeaks revelations had his appeal to stand down on moral grounds dismissed yesterday.

Michael Lyons, 24, cast himself as a conscientious objector after reading of the "enormous under-reporting of civilian casualties in the conflict I was about to enter". The committee heard how a combination of anecdotal evidence of civilian casualties, including children, had prompted Mr Lyons to question the political reasons behind the war in Afghanistan. "I was unable to find a real, just and noble cause to go out, but I still had a sense of duty to my country," he said.

"I came to the conclusion I couldn't serve on a moral ground, and I couldn't see any political reason for being there."

Mr Lyons, from Plymouth, came from a proud military family and was the great-grandson of a decorated Second World War hero. Giving evidence, his mother Jill Bland, 49, said: "Certain members of the family are very aggrieved over Michael's decision."

However she added: "I've watched his awakening of conscience and, as his mother, I'm incredibly proud of him. His strength of conviction is so deep."