Denis Poroy  /  AP
Navy Petty Officer Pablo Paredes at an anti-war rally Tuesday in National City, Calif.
updated 5/11/2005 10:59:41 PM ET 2005-05-12T02:59:41

A sailor turned anti-war activist was convicted Wednesday in a special court-martial of refusing to board the USS Bonhomme Richard as it deployed to the Persian Gulf in December.

A military judge found Petty Officer 3rd Class Pablo Paredes guilty of missing his ship’s movement, but dismissed a second count of unauthorized absence, ruling it duplicative.

The proceeding then moved into the sentencing phase. The 23-year-old New Yorker could receive a year in jail, a forfeiture of pay, reduction in rank and a bad-conduct discharge.

Paredes had waived his right to have his trial heard by a military jury.

Paredes, a weapons control technician, refused to board the ship on Dec. 6 as it left for a six-month deployment in the Pacific and Indian oceans. The Bonhomme Richard and two other ships were transporting about 3,000 Marines to Iraq.

At the time, Paredes told reporters he did not want to be part of a war he views as illegal and immoral. He said his military training has taught him to avoid what he views as a war crime.

Navy prosecutors, however, blocked Paredes’ plans to put the war on trial during the court-martial. A Navy officer reviewing Paredes’ request for conscientious objector status has also recommended that it be denied.

Defense attorney Jeremy Warren said Paredes passed up deals that would have minimized his punishment in exchange for a guilty plea.

“He’s not backing down from what he did or why he did it,” Warren said.

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