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Judge says doctor can leave US Army because of Coptic Christian beliefs against war

Judge says doctor can leave US Army because of Coptic Christian beliefs against war

A federal judge ruled that the Army was wrong to deny a doctor's application for conscientious objector status, and ordered that she be discharged.
Dr. Mary Hanna, who had agreed to serve four years on active duty and another four years in the reserve in exchange for the Army's paying for her education, argued that her religious beliefs changed since she signed up for the Army program.
U.S. District Judge Nancy Gertner agreed Friday, writing, "it is clear from the evidence in the record that the act of serving in the Army violates Hanna's conscience."
Hanna, 30, who described herself as a devout Coptic Orthodox Christian, said in her application for conscientious objector status that she had no strong feelings about war when she entered the Army in 1997. But she said she found her religious feelings rekindled after the death of her father, a former Egyptian military officer, in 2003.
Hanna's application had been approved up the chain of command, but was denied in September by the Army's Conscientious Objector Review Board.
U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan, representing the Army in federal court in Boston, called the ruling "regrettable" and said he's considering an appeal.
Hanna's attorney, Louis Font, did not immediately return a call for comment Friday evening. Her attorney has said she would repay the $184,000 (euro145,000) the government invested in her education at the Tufts University School of Medicine.
Under military regulations, conscientious objectors may ask to be released or to serve in noncombat roles if they are sincerely opposed to war.


Updated : 2020-12-02 16:03 GMT+08:00