SAN DIEGO - A U.S. sailor was sentenced to three months of hard labor Thursday for refusing to ship out for the Persian Gulf in a protest against the war in Iraq. Pablo Paredes was also busted down from petty officer third class to seaman recruit, the lowest rank in the Navy. A military judge, Lt. Cmdr. Bob Klant, imposed the sentence a day after finding Paredes guilty of refusing to board the board the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard after it received orders for the Persian Gulf in December. The 23-year-old New Yorker said he refused to support a war he believed was illegal and immoral. Prosecutors had asked the judge to sentence Paredes to nine months of confinement. Paredes and prosecutors left the courtroom without commenting. Paredes' lawyer, Jeremy Warren, called the judge's lesser sentence "a stunning blow to the prosecution." "This is an affirmation of every sailor's and military person's right to speak out and follow their conscience," he said. Paredes had requested conscientious objector status after he refused to board the ship. A Navy officer found that his refusal was based on political opposition to the Iraq war, not a moral opposition to all war, and recommended it be denied.