By Rebecca LaFlure

Killeen Daily Herald

Peace activists from across Texas are expected to assemble outside Fort Hood Wednesday in support of a local soldier who publicly refused orders to deploy to Afghanistan.

Spc. Victor Agosto, who previously served 13 months in Iraq, said he would not deploy because he believes the war is "immoral and unjust."

Agosto is scheduled for summary court-martial on Wednesday morning. He could face up to 30 days in jail for refusing an order from a noncommissioned officer.

"I do not want to contribute to the death and distress among the people of Afghanistan," Agosto said Monday. "I cannot in good conscience take part in this occupation."

A peaceful demonstration is scheduled for Wednesday after Agosto's court-martial, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. outside the Fort Hood East Gate.

Supporters from across Texas, including several active-duty Fort Hood soldiers, are expected to attend.

"We want to show support for Victor and to other soldiers who are thinking of resisting," said Cindy Thomas, manager of Under the Hood Café and one of the event's main organizers.

"The war has been going on for so long. Soldiers are facing multiple deployments and are having a difficult time when they come back with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), traumatic brain injury, flashbacks and nightmares. It's important to support them."

During the demonstration, Agosto's lawyer, James Branum, will be available to answer questions and read a public statement from Agosto.

"He's doing something for the sake of his beliefs, and as a society I think we should encourage that, not discourage it," Branum said.

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