Conscientious objectors Avichai Vaknin and Sahar Vardi
Use this form to send the letter below to the relevant authority (Minister of Defense Ehud Barak). 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 Ehud Barak,
I am very concerned about the imprisonment of conscientious objectors Avichai Vakin, who was sentenced on 21 August to 21 days, and Sahar Vardi, who was sentenced on 25 August to 7 days. Avichai Vaknin is now serving his sentence in Military Prison No 6, and Sahar Vardi is serving hers in Military Prison No. 400. For both it is highly likely that they will receive a new prison term after serving the present sentence.
Both refused to enlist in the Israeli Army based on beliefs and conscience. Both declared their conscientious objection in letters to you or the Israeli Army.
Both claim their human right to conscientious objection, as guaranteed by Article 18 of the ICCPR. They now face 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 urge you to immediately release Avichai Vaknin, Sahar Vardi, and all imprisoned conscientious objectors. I urge you to respect human rights.