‘MoD unfairly imprisons teenagers’

10/06/2011Defence Management

Teenage soldiers have been unfairly detained in military prisons due to a failure from the MoD to effectively implemenent discharge policies, the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers has said.

The human rights body said provisions that should allow recruits under the age of 18 to be discharged had not been consistently applied, meaning that young soldiers who had gone absent without leave (AWOL) had been detained in a Colchester military prison.

“The Ministry of Defence has repeatedly claimed that recruits under the age of 18 can get a discharge just by asking for it. If this was the case they wouldn’t be risking imprisonment by going AWOL”, said Martin Macpherson, interim director of the coalition.

“The reality is that many young people who join the armed forces quickly realise it’s not what they want. If this is the case they should be allowed to leave as a matter of right rather than depending on the discretion of their commanding officer.”

It was claimed that in 2010 at least eight under-18s who had gone AWOL were sentenced by court martial to military imprisonment.

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