(Lawton-AP) -- Supporters of a soldier who refuses to return to Iraq are in Lawton today supporting his request to be declared a conscientious objector.
Former Staff Sergeant Camilo Mejia was convicted by a military court at Fort Stewart, Georgia, of desertion. He had failed to return to his Florida National Guard unit after a two-week leave.
Mejia was sentenced to one year in prison at Fort Sill, reduced in rank to private and given a dishonorable discharge. If given conscientious objector status he'll be given an honorable discharge.
A hearing is this afternoon on his request, the hearing is closed. His attorneys say Mejia's experiences during 5.5 months in Iraq led him to object to the war.
Vietnam veteran Dave Collins of Johnson City, Texas, says it isn't uncommon for a soldier to develop an opposition to war after serving in combat.