TURKEY: Conscientious objector Halil Savda imprisoned for "alienating the people from the military"


On Friday, 24 February 2012, Turkish conscientious objector Halil Savda was arrested at 6.00am in the morning to serve a 100 days sentence for "alienating the people from the military" (Article 318 Turkish penal code).

The case goes back to 1 August 2006, when Halil Savda declared his solidarity with Israeli conscientious objectors Itzik Shabbat and Amir Pastar (see co-alert, 7 March 2011), who both were imprisoned for refusing their participation in Israel's war in Lebanon (see co-alert, 3 August 2006.)

Halil Savda was subsequently sentenced in June 2008, and the sentence was upheld by the Supreme Court of Appeals in November 2010 and communicated to Halil Savda in February 2011. But he had not been required to begin serving his sentence until now.

Halil Savda already served a total of 17 months in prison over a period of five years for his conscientious objection to military service. In 2008, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention came to the conclusion that these imprisonments were arbitrary (see Opinion 16/2008).

In June 2010, Halil Savda was sentenced in a similar case - a statement in support of then imprisoned Turkish conscientious objector Enver Aydemir - to six months' imprisonment, together with three co-defendants. This case is presently pending at the Supreme Court of Appeal. Halil Savda is presently under investigation for two more cases of violation of Article 318.

Article 318 of the Turkish Penal Code represents an unfair limitation of the right to freedom of expression in Turkey, and is considered to be in direct breach of Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which protect the right to freedom of expression and to which Turkey is a state party.
More information on Article 318 is available at /node/3554.

War Resisters' International calls for letters of support to Halil Savda
Halil Savda
Doğubeyazıt Kapalı Cecaevi

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

Andreas Speck
War Resisters' International