Release conscientious objector Haluk Selam Tufanlı

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Use this form to send the letter below to the relevant authority (Turkish Cypriot leader Derviş Eroğlu). 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 Derviş Eroğlu,

Conscientious objector Haluk Selam Tufanli has been imprisoned for 10 days for his refusal to participate in the annual compulsory military exercises in the northern part of Cyprus.

Haluk's conscientious objection is a human right protected by Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Moreover, on 7 July 2011, the European Court of Human Rights, in their judgement Bayatyan v. Armenia (Application no. 23459/03, 1/6/2011), ruled that states have a duty to respect individuals’ right to conscientious objection to military service as part of their obligation to respect the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. Since then, the European Court of Human Rights has consolidated its jurisprudence in judgements on Turkey (Demirtaş v. Turkey from 17 January 2012 and Erçep v. Turkey from 22 November 2011, Savda v. Turkey from 12 June 2012, and Tarhan v. Turkey from 17 July 2012).

Furthermore, Haluk Selam Tufanlı should not be being tried in a military court at all. A conscientious objector, like any other civilian, should not be tried by the military. This was explicitly ruled by the European Court of Human Rights, as it represents a violation of the right to a fair trial (Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights). See of Ercep v. Turkey, application no. 43965/04, judgement 22/11/2011 and case of Feti Demirtaş v. Turkey, application no. 5260/07, judgment 17/01/2012, where the principle of not trying a civilian before a military court was extended to the situation of a person who had been incorporated in the military against his will. The 2011 the Military Court in Lefkosa withdrew from judging the case of Turkish-Cypriot conscientious objector Murat Kanatli and decided to refer it to the Constitutional Court, following a request of the defense to deem the military court incompetent to try a civilian.

Haluk Selam Tufanlı refuses to undertaken annual compulsory military exercises based on his beliefs and conscience. He claims his human right to conscientious objection, as guaranteed by Article 18 of the ICCPR. In a decision from January 2007, the United Nations Human Rights Committee recognised 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. 

I urge you to release Haluk Selam Tufanlı and ensure he is not punished in future.

Yours sincerely,