Conscientious objector Mehmet Bal
Use this form to send the letter below to the relevant authority (President Abdullah Gul). 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).
Dear Mr President Abdullah Gul,
I am very concerned about the recent imprisonment of Turkish conscientious objector Mehmet Bal. He was arrested on 8 June 2008, and is now being transferred to Adana military prison, where he will face a trial on charges of desertion and disobeying orders. It has to be feared that this will be the beginning of a vicious circle of trial, sentencing, return to military unit, and retrial.
In the case of Turkish conscientious objector Osman Murat Ulke, the European Court of Human Rights complained about Turkey's lack of a recognition of the right to conscientious objection. In it's judgement on the merits of the case, the European Court of Human Rights, on 24 January 2006, came to the conclusion: "The numerous criminal prosecutions against the applicant, the cumulative effects of the criminal convictions which resulted from them and the constant alternation between prosecutions and terms of imprisonment, together with the possibility that he would be liable to prosecution for the rest of his life, had been disproportionate to the aim of ensuring that he did his military service. They were more calculated to repressing the applicant's intellectual personality, inspiring in him feelings of fear, anguish and vulnerability capable of humiliating and debasing him and breaking his resistance and will. The clandestine life amounting almost to 'civil death' which the applicant had been compelled to adopt was incompatible with the punishment regime of a democratic society.
Consequently, the Court considered that, taken as a whole and regard being had to its gravity and repetitive nature, the treatment inflicted on the applicant had caused him severe pain and suffering which went beyond the normal element of humiliation inherent in any criminal sentence or detention. In the aggregate, the acts concerned constituted degrading treatment within the meaning of Article 3."
I urge you to respect the spirit of the judgement of the European Court of Human Rights, and to immediately release conscientious objector Mehmet Bal. I urge you to respect human rights.