Sentencing of conscientious objector Farid Mammedov
Use this form to send the letter below to the relevant authority (Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov). 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).
I am concerned about the arrest and sentencing of conscientious objector Farid Mammedov.
Farid Mammedov was detained in court on on 8 September 2010, after the failure of his appeal against a prison term of nine months, on charges of evading military service (article 321.1). As a member of the Jehovah's Witnesses, Farid Mammedov refuses military service for reasons of conscience. He was found guilty on 16 July 2010 at Baku's Nasimi District Court.
Azerbaijan is a signatory of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the European Convention on Human Rights, which both recognise the right to conscientious objection. When Azerbaijan joined the Council of Europe, it committed itself to recognise the right to conscientious objection, but this has not happened until now.
The United Nations Human Rights Committee recognised in a decision from January 2007 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. In fact, in this decision on two cases of conscientious objectors from South Korea, the Human Rights Committee stated that not to provide for the right to conscientious objection is a violation of Article 18 ICCPR (see CCPR/C/88/D/1321-1322/2004 from 23 January 2007).
In August 2009, the United Nations Human Rights Committee again recommended to Azerbaijan "that a law exempting conscientious objectors from compulsory military service and providing for alternative civil service of equivalent length be adopted at an early date in compliance with article 18 of the Covenant and the Committee's General Comment No. 22".
I therefore urge you to immediately release Farid Mammedov and all imprisoned conscientious objectors. I urge you to respect human rights.