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Mistreatment of conscientious objector Tamar Katz

Activist:
Country:
  • Israel
Not sent after:
  • 20 Dec 2008
  • Use this form to send the letter below to the relevant authority (Minister of Defense Ehud Barak). You can add your own notes in a separate box after the standard text, if you wish. You must include a name, address, and email address; a copy will be sent to you with a cc to the WRI office (so we have a record of how many email letters have been sent out for this particular case).

Mistreatment of conscientious objector Tamar Katz

Dear Mr Ehud Barak,

It has come to my attention that Tamar Katz (Military ID number 5396326), a conscientious objector to military service, is being held and mistreated in the Isolation Ward of Military Prison No. 400.

The prison authorities deny Tamar Katz basic liberties and conditions, such as the ability to call her family, to change clothes, even to brush her teeth - all because she refuses to wear a military uniform.

Tamar Katz claims her human right to conscientious objection, as guaranteed by Article 18 of the ICCPR. She now faces repeated imprisonment, which is a violation of international legal standards. The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in opinion 24/2003 on Israel came to the conclusion that the repeated imprisonment of conscientious objectors in Israel is arbitrary, and therefore it constitutes a violation of 14 par 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, of which Israel is a signatory. The United Nations Human Rights Committee recognised in a decision from January 2007 the right to conscientious objection as a legitimate exercise of the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion, as guaranteed by Article 18 ICCPR. In fact, in this decision on two cases of conscientious objectors from South Korea, the Human Rights Committee stated that not to provide for the right to conscientious objection is a violation of Article 18 ICCPR (see CCPR/C/88/D/1321-1322/2004 from 23 January 2007).

I therefore call for the immediate and unconditional release of Tamar Katz from prison, without threat of further imprisonment in the future, but pending that, I urge you to make sure the humiliating treatment of Tamar Katz is stopped right away. Imprisoning people for their beliefs is unacceptable; singling them out among prisoners for harsher treatment is unthinkable.