Staff Sgt. Camilo Mejia, 28, was convicted in a military court at Fort Stewart, Ga., of desertion May 21 after he failed to return to his Florida National Guard unit following a two-week leave in October.
In a hearing Wednesday, attorneys for Mejia will argue that the horrors of war and his experiences during his 51/2 months near the Sunni Triangle made him a conscientious objector.
''Seeing civilian deaths, abuse of detainees by U.S. soldiers, it made him change his beliefs,'' said Louis Font, his attorney.
Daniel Ellsberg, a former military analyst who leaked the 1971 Pentagon Papers that showed proof American officials were lying about victory in the Vietnam War, plans to testify on Mejia's behalf at the hearing Wednesday.
Other witnesses for Mejia will include a Roman Catholic bishop, a father whose son died in Iraq, an activist for military families and a peace activist.
In his objector application, Mejia details abuse of Iraqi detainees at Al Asad Air Force Base and deaths of children and civilians.
Font said his client's situation got worse after information in his objector application was released.
''I've been practicing military law for about three decades and I've never seen anything like this,'' Font said. ''The Pentagon usually gives someone a hearing on their conscientious objector status before convicting them. They moved full steam ahead to convict him after his application.''
Mejia, who was a psychology student at the University of Miami before his unit was activated, was sentenced to one year at the Fort Sill Regional Corrections Facility in Lawton.
He also received a deduction in pay and rank and a dishonorable discharge from the military.
If military officials accept his objector application he will be given an honorable discharge, Font said.
Mejia is in good spirits and grateful for the support he's been shown, Font said.
''His morale is high,'' Font said. ''He has support from all over the world. He's looking forward to this hearing.''
Mejia, who moved to the United States from Nicaragua when he was 18, is the son of singer Carlos Mejia Godoy.
Mejia Godoy is best known for writing the line ''Let's fight the Yankee, enemy of humanity,'' into Nicaragua's former Sandinista anthem.
On the Net: