The case of Osman Murat Ülke

Osman Murat Ülke declared his conscientious objection and burned his call-up papers on 1 September 1995 in Izmir. He was arrested more than a year later - on 7 October 1996 - on charges of Article 155, "alienating the people from the military". Once in the hands of the military, he also was transferred to his military unit, where he refused to obey any orders, and was repeatedly charged with "disobedience", leading to what the European Court of Human Rights later called a "constant alternation between prosecution and terms of imprisonment", which lasted until his release 2 1/2 years later, still officially obliged to perform military service, and thus destined to live a clandestine life.

On 24 January 2006, the ECHR ruled that his treatment amounted to "civil death" and a violation of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, sentencing Turkey to pay compensation. However, while Osman received the compensation, the situation did not change. In June 2007, he received a new arrest warrant for the remainder of a sentence dating back to 1999. Turkey is thus defying the European Court of Human Rights.

The Council of Europe emphasized in a meeting in October 2007 that ECHR judge- ments "have direct applicability in Turkish legal order by virtue of Article 90 of the Turkish Constitution", and urged Turkey to finally put an end to the violation of Osman's rights. The case still continues...