TURKEY: Conscientious objector Muhammed Serdar Delice arrested


War Resisters' International has been informed that conscientious objector Muhammed Serdar Delice has been arrested last night. War Resisters' International presently does not know where he is being held, or what he is charged with.

Muhammed Serdar Delice declared his conscientious objection on 2 March 2010, after five months of serving military service in the Turkish Army. He did not return from vacations and declared his conscientious objection instead. He said that he did not want to joint a non-Muslim army.

Muhammed Serdar Delice exercises his human right to conscientious objection to military service, as enshrined in Article 9 of the European Convention and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

On 22 November 2011, the European Court of Human Rights in the case Ercep v Turkey (case no 43965/04) ruled that not to provide for the right to conscientious objection is a violation of Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Conscientious objectors had no option but to refuse to enrol in the army if they wished to remain true to their convictions. In so doing, they laid themselves open to a sort of “civil death” because of the numerous sets of criminal proceedings which the authorities invariably brought against them; they could face prosecution for the rest of their lives. The Court considered that that situation was not compatible with law enforcement in a democratic society.

Muhammed Serdar Delice is the second Muslim conscientious objector in Turkey, who refuses military service based on his religious beliefs. On 24 December 2009, conscientious objector Enver Aydemir was arrested and later sentenced to ten months' imprisonment. He was released in June 2010.

Presently, conscientious objector İnan Suver is still imprisoned.

War Resisters' International calls for letters of protest to the Turkish authorities, and Turkish embassies abroad.
Presidency of the Turkish Republic: Fax +90-312-4271330, email cumhurbaskanligi@tccb.gov.tr.
A protest email to the Turkish President Abdullah Gül can be sent at http://wri-irg.org/node/14277.

War Resisters' International calls for the immediate release of Muhammed Serdar Delice and all other imprisoned conscientious objectors.

Andreas Speck
War Resisters' International