Zafar Abdullayev vs. Turkmenistan
The United Nations Human Rights Committee has found that the state of Turkmenistan has violated Article 7, Article 10(1), Article 14(7) because he was tried and sentenced twice for his refusal to do military service and Article 18(1).
7.2...The Committee takes note of the author’s claim that, upon arrival at the LBK-12 prison on 3 April 2012, he was subjected to ill-treatment by the prison guards in violation of article 7 of the Covenant. It notes that the author has provided a detailed description of the manner in which he was ill-treated while in isolation, as well as the identity of the organizer of his ill-treatment. The author claimed that he was placed in the colony’s isolation block for 10 days, was beaten, subjected to “goose stepping”, doing push-ups, running, and sitting on the floor with stretched-out legs. The Committee further notes that the author’s detailed allegations and his argumentation regarding the lack of adequate mechanisms for investigation of torture claims in Turkmenistan were not refuted by the State party. The Committee also recalls that complaints of ill-treatment must be investigated promptly and impartially by competent authorities.1 In the absence of any other pertinent information on file, the Committee decides that due weight must be given to the author’s allegations. Accordingly, it concludes that the facts as presented reveal a violation of the author’s rights under article 7 of the Covenant.
7.3...The Committee recalls that persons deprived of their liberty may not be subjected to any hardship or constraint other than that resulting from the deprivation of liberty: they must be treated in accordance with, inter alia, the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.2 In the absence of any other pertinent information on file, the Committee decides that due weight must be given to the author’s allegations. Accordingly, the Committee finds that confining the author in such conditions constitutes a violation of his right to be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person under article 10 (1) of the Covenant. 3
7.5... The Committee notes that, in the present case, the author has been tried and punished twice under the same provision of the Turkmen Criminal Code on account of the fact that, as a Jehovah’s Witness, he objected to, and refused to perform, his compulsory military service. In the circumstances of the present case, and in the absence of contrary information from the State party, the Committee concludes that the author’s rights under article 14 (7) of the Covenant have been violated.
7.8 In the present case, the Committee considers that the author’s refusal to be drafted for compulsory military service derives from his religious beliefs and that the author’s subsequent convictions and sentences amounted to an infringement of his freedom of conscience, in breach of article 18 (1) of the Covenant. The Committee recalls that repression of the refusal to be drafted for compulsory military service exercised against persons whose conscience or religion prohibit the use of arms is incompatible with article 18 (1) of the Covenant.4
9. In accordance with article 2 (3) (a) of the Covenant, the State party is under an obligation to provide the author with an effective remedy, to include an impartial, effective and thorough investigation of the author’s claims falling under article 7, prosecution of any person(s) found to be responsible; expunging of his criminal record; and full reparation, including appropriate compensation. The State party is under an obligation to avoid similar violations of the Covenant in the future, including the adoption of legislative measures guaranteeing the right to conscientious objection.
Read it full views of the committee here.
1. Human Rights Committee, general comment No. 20 (1992) on the prohibition of torture and cruel treatment or punishment.↩
2. See for example communication No. 1520/2006, Mwamba v.Zambia, Views adopted on 10 March 2010, para. 6.4.↩
3. See for example communication No. 1530/2006, Bozbey v. Turkmenistan, Views adopted on 27 October 2010, para. 7.3.↩
4. See communications Nos. 1642-1741, Min-Kyu Jeong et al v. The Republic of Korea (see footnote 14), para. 7.4; No. 1786/2008, Jong-nam Kim et al. v. Republic of Korea (see footnote 13), para. 7.5; and No. 2179/2012, Young-kwan Kim et al. v. Republic of Korea, Views adopted on 15 October 2014, para. 7.4. ↩