TURKEY: Conscientious objector Mehmet Bal on hunger strike


War Resisters' International learned today that Turkish conscientious objector Mehmet Bal, who was imprisoned on 24 October, is on hunger strike.

Mehmet Bal was arrested on 24 October, when he presented himself to the military. On the next day, he was transferred to the Military Prison in Adana, where he refused to wear the prison uniform. He then was sent to the colonel, who gave order for him to look alive. Mehmet refused and was kicked in his ankle. Mehmet's hair was cut by force, and he was forcefully dressed in uniform. Mehmet undressed at any possible moment. He was then lead to a two-person cell, where he started his hunger strike. He now is lead to a medical examination every day. The colonel justifies this with concerns about his health, but it is more a covered harassment, because every time he is lead out of his cell he is forcefully dressed in uniform, and handcuffed, so that he cannot undress himself. He is now charged with two charges: alienation of the people from the military (Art 155 Turkish Penal Code) and repeated refusal of orders. So far, charges of art 155 where dealt with at the Military Court at the General Staff in Ankara, but it is not yet clear if this will also be the case now.

War Resisters' International is very cincerned about the health and safety of Mehmet Bal. We therefore call on everybody to send letters/faxes of protest, voicing your concern, to the military prison in Adana, and to Turkish embassies abroad.

Adana 6. Kolordu Askeri Cezaevi
Adana, Turkey
Fax: +90-322-322 8136

Andreas Speck
War Resisters' International