US & Canada

'Birther' army doctor Lakin convicted for not deploying

Lt Col Terrence Lakin
Image caption Lt Col Terrence Lakin has served in the US military for 17 years

A military jury has convicted an army doctor of disobeying orders to deploy to Afghanistan because he questioned US President Barack Obama's eligibility as commander-in-chief.

Lt Col Terrence Lakin, a so-called "birther", questioned whether Mr Obama was a natural-born citizen as US law requires to be president.

Lakin pleaded guilty to the charge at court-martial proceedings.

He faces up to three-and-a-half years in prison and dismissal from the army.

In videos posted on YouTube earlier this month, Lakin aligned himself with the "birther" movement, which has questioned whether Mr Obama was born in the US as required by the Constitution.

In recent years, "birthers" have accused Mr Obama's home state of Hawaii of covering up evidence allegedly showing that he was born in another country.

Change of heart

The military doctor had said before his court martial at Fort Meade, Maryland, that he would "gladly deploy" if Mr Obama's original birth certificate were released and proven to be authentic.

But Lakin changed his mind on Wednesday, saying he would deploy to Afghanistan even if his request went unanswered.

"I don't want it to end this way," Lakin said. "I want to continue to serve."

He pleaded guilty to disobeying orders to meet a superior and to report to Fort Campbell in the state of Kentucky, a move which would have eventually led him to deployment in Afghanistan.

The doctor, who has served for 17 years in the army, asked the jury to allow him to remain in the military.

Jurors in the case are due to begin deliberating on his sentence on Thursday.

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