The two conscientious objectors Jonathan Ben-Artzi (ISR12371) and Uri Ya'acobi (ISR12376) were yesterday (8 December) sentenced to their sixt prison terms.
Jonathan Ben-Artzi already spent a total of 126 days in prison. He was now sentenced to a further 35 days - a total of 161 days in prison. Jonathan Ben-Artzi was first sentenced on 8 August to 28 days in prison. He wrote: "I, Jonathan Ben-Artzi, am refusing to join the army on grounds of pacifism. My profound convictions in nonviolence began when I was a small child, and developed over the years into a broad political philosophy. Because of my beliefs, my own country is going to imprison me, in defiance of international laws, basic moral values, and fundamental human rights. I will go to prison proudly, knowing that this is the least I can do to improve this country, and the cause of pacifism." Jonathan Ben-Artzi filed for exemption from military service on grounds of conscientious objection two years ago, and even went to the Israeli Supreme Court. As Israel doesn't recognise the right to conscientious objection, the Israeli military decided not to exempt Jonathan Ben-Artzi, and the Supreme Court decided not to interfere with the military procedure. After being sentenced on 8 August 2002, Jonathan Ben-Artzi was then sentenced again on 4 September, 1 October, 21 October, and 10 November 2002. A picture of Jonathan Ben-Artzi can be found at http://wri-irg.org/co/BenArtzi.jpg .
Uri Ya'acobi (ISR12376) was first sentenced on 14 August to 14 days in military prison due to his conscientious objection. Uri Ya'acobi is one of the signatories of the letter of the 12th graders of 2001 (http://www.shministim.org/english_letter.htm). Two days before he got arrested for refusing to enlist, he published a statement "I am no occupier, full stop." (see http://wri-irg.org/co/yaacobi.htm) After his first sentence on 14 August, Uri Ya'acobi was again sentenced on 1 September, 1 October, 15 October, and 10 November. So far he spent a total of 106 days in prison, plus the additional sentence of 28 days.
Both cases - the case of Jonathan Ben-Artzi and of Uri Ya'acobi - indicate a tougher response from the Israeli authorities. Usually, conscientious objectors were sent to the "Incompatibility Committee" after spending 90 to 100 days in prison. This seems to be changing now - earlier this year conscientious objector Victor Sabranski was jailed five times for a total of 126 days. War Resisters' International and New Profile decided to submit his case to the UN Commission on Human Rights Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (see http://wri-irg.org/news/2002/newprofile.htm). The new harsh treatment of conscientious objectors also seems to be a response to increased unwillingness in Israel to serve in the army. Besides open conscientious objection, many reservists ignore their call-up to reserve duty, for various reasons. In addition, the number of open refuseniks is increasing steadily.
War Resisters' International calls for strong protests against the repeated imprisonment of conscientious objectors in Israel, especially against the sixt prison terms for Jonathan Ben-Artzi and Uri Ya'acobi.
War Resisters' International calls for letters of support to Jonathan Ben-Artzi and Uri Ya'acobi. Jonathan Ben-Artzi (Mil ID 7169436)
Uri Ya'acobi (Mil ID 7342725)
Military Prison No 4
Military Postal Code 02507
War Resisters' International calls for strongly worded letters of protest to the Israeli authorities, and Israeli embassies abroad. We recommend you refer to UN Commission on Human Rights Resolutions 2002/45 and 1998/77.
War Resisters' International calls for the immediate release of conscientious objectors Jonathan Ben-Artzi and Uri Ya'acobi.
War Resisters' International
Mr. Binyamin Ben-Eliezer,
Minister of Defence,
Ministry of Defence,
37 Kaplan st.,
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Commander of Military Prison No. 4,
Military Postal Code 02507
Commander of Military Prison No 6
Military Prison No 6
Military postal number 01860,
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