A U.S. soldier who fled to Canada to avoid being deployed to Iraq has been released from a military prison after serving his sentence for desertion.

The Toronto-based War Resisters Support Campaign says Cliff Cornell was released Saturday from the prison at Camp Lejeune, N.C. He had pleaded guilty to desertion and was sentenced to a year in prison in April 2009, but was released early.

The solider from Mountain Home, Ark., went to Canada in January 2005, a month before his unit was scheduled to deploy to Iraq.

Cornell said he feared for his own life and couldn't stomach the thought of killing. He returned to the U.S. when Canada denied him asylum as a war objector.

Cornell had worked at a grocery store in British Columbia and has said he hopes to return to the area.