updated 12/2/2008 3:59:12 PM ET 2008-12-02T20:59:12

A U.S. soldier who deserted after serving in Iraq declared Tuesday that he has applied for asylum in Germany.

Army Spc. Andre Shepherd said he deserted from his unit's Katterbach base in April 2007 after returning from a six-month deployment in Iraq, where he was a mechanic working on Apache attack helicopters in Tikrit.

"We went to war basically for nothing," said Shepherd, of Cleveland. "There's no way I would go back for a second tour with the information that I have since received."

Shepherd has been staying with friends in southern Germany since going AWOL and working odd jobs to support himself.

Germany should grant him asylum, Shepherd said, because of its strong opposition to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

"The Germany government already declared the war illegal in 2005," Shepherd said.

Another asylum bid
The Interior Ministry, which oversees migration and asylum, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Shepherd applied for asylum last week, said Tim Huber, director of the Germany-based Military Counseling Network, a group that has been assisting him.

U.S. Army Europe spokesman Bruce Anderson confirmed that Shepherd served in the Army's 12th Combat Aviation Brigade but would not comment on the asylum application.

Shepherd's bid for asylum follows that of U.S. Army Spc. Jeremy Hinzman, who in September won a last-minute stay of deportation from Canada after a judge there ruled he could remain while awaiting a decision on whether he could appeal a deportation order.

Hinzman faces charges in the United States of fleeing to avoid duty in Iraq. He had served a tour in Afghanistan during his three years in the Army, but has argued that the war in Iraq is immoral and illegal.

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