TURKEY: Conscientious objector Halil Savda sentenced to 15 months imprisonment


On 15 March,
Turkish conscientious objector Halil Savda (TK14682) was sentenced by
the Corlu military court to 15.5 months imprisonment - 12 months for
"desertion", and 3.5 months for "continued disobedience". Halil Savda
was arrested on 7 December 2006, when attending trial in his case on
conscientious objection to military service (see co-alert, 7 December 2006).
This trial had been the result of Halil Savda's appeal against a of 3
months and 15 days of imprisonment on the charge of “insistent
disobedience” by the Corlu-Tekirdag Military Court in January 2005.
Following this appeal, the Military Supreme Court 3rd Chamber
reevaluated the case on 13 June 2006 and the verdict of Corlu Military
Court from 5 January 2005 was cancelled. Halil Savda was arrested at
the retrial on 7 December 2006.

Another trial - going back to his "release" and rearrest in January
2007 (see co-alert, 15 March 2007),
will continue on 29 March 2007.

A solidarity demonstration with Halil Savda was attacked by
nationalists. The Istanbul CO platform reports:

"In order to observe the trial of CO Halil Savda at the Corlu
Military Court on 15 March 2007, a group of 30 demonstrators from the
Conscientious Objection Platform made a symbolic walk from Istanbul to
Corlu in order to raise public awareness. While the walk in Istanbul
succeeded, the walk in Corlu had been obstructed by police giving as
reason that there may be some attacks. The demonstrators stated that
they wanted to make a press statement. So with the police escort, the
group went by bus to a park in front of the Corlu Military Court where
they waited for approximately 3 hours for the trial to start.

During these three hours, the group distributed the press release and
made a small demonstration with banners, singing songs without any
slogans. The police offered some tea and something to eat to the
demonstrators since they didn’t want the whole group to walk even to
get some food from the nearby shops.

When the time of the trial came, and because of the capacity of the
courtroom, only 15 out of 30 persons were able to get into the
courtroom in order to observe the trial. The rest of the group stayed
at the park waiting for the end of the trial. However towards the end
of the trial, a group of 25-30 persons were able to break through the
police line surrounding the demonstrators and attacked them. While the
police did not take any of the attackers into custody, 7 of the
demonstrators had been subjected to pepper gas and beatings by the

When the other group observing the trial came out, the whole group,
including Halil Savda’s Lawyer Suna Coskun, made a press statement,
giving the information on Halil’s trial and condemning the attacks. At
the end of the statement, the demonstrators, escorted by the police,
went to their buses to go back to Istanbul. However, attacks on the
group continued and one of the buses was damaged due to the stone
thrown by one of the attackers."

War Resisters' International condemns the attacks on the solidarity
demonstration for Halil Savda.

War Resisters' International calls for letters of support to Halil

    Halil Savda

    5. Kolordu Komutanligi,

    Askeri Cezaevi

    Corlu – Tekirdag


War Resisters' International calls for letters of protest to the
Turkish authorities, and Turkish embassies abroad.

* General Staff of the Turkish Military: Fax +90-312-4250813

* Presidency of the Turkish Republic: Fax +90-312-4271330, email cumhurbaskanligi@tccb.gov.tr

* A protest email to the Turkish President Ahmet Nezdet Secer can be
sent at http://wri-irg.org/co/alerts/20070320a.html.

War Resisters' International calls for the immediate release of Halil
Savda and all other imprisoned conscientious objectors.

Andreas Speck

War Resisters' International

Archives of co-alert can be found at http://wri-irg.org/news/alerts