Areg Hovhanesyan (NKR14710), a Jehovah's Witness, has been sentenced to 4 years imprisonment on 16 February for refusing to perform military service. The sentenced was handed down by a court in the Stepanakert, the capital of the unrecognised Nagorno-Karabakh republic. Hovhanesyan told the court that he would be prepared to do an alternative, non-military service. However, such a service does not exist in Nagorno-Karabakh, and so he was sentenced according to Article 327 Part 3 of the Nagorno-Karabakh Criminal Code, which punishes evasion of military service "in conditions of martial law, in war conditions or during military actions" with a sentence of between four and eight years. Hovhanesyan was detained after the verdict was announced.
Although Nagorno-Karabakh does not recognise the right to conscientious objection, in individual cases special provisions have been made for unarmed service within the military. Gagik Mirzoyan, a Baptist conscientious objector who was imprisoned in December last year (see NKR14688-180105 - http://wri-irg.org/news/htdocs/18012005c.html) is now serving such a service, without the need to swear the oath, and without weapons.
War Resisters' International calls on the authorities of Nagorno-Karabakh to immediately release Areg Hovhanesyan. War Resisters' International calls for letters of protest to the authorities of Nagorno-Karabakh: Arman Melikian
A protest email can be sent at http://wri-irg.org/co/alerts/20050301b.html
War Resisters' International calls on Nagorno-Karabakh to recognise the right to conscientious objection.
War Resisters' International
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