Sentencing of conscientious objector Enver Aydemir
Use this form to send the letter below to the relevant authority (President Abdullah Gül). 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).
Dear Mr President Abdullah Gül,
I am very concerned about the recent sentencing of Turkish conscientious objector Enver Aydemir. He was arrested on 24 December 2009, and has been sentenced by the Eskişehir military court to ten months imprisonment on charges of desertion on 30 March 2010. He is now being sent to 'his' unit in Bilecik, where he will be arrested again following his continued refusal to perform military service. Thus, a vicious cycle of sentencing and disobeying orders is likely to begin.
Enver Aydemir 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.
In the case of Turkish conscientious objector Osman Murat Ülke, the European Court of Human Rights complained about Turkey's lack of a recognition of the right to conscientious objection. In it's judgment on the merits of the case, the European Court of Human Rights, on 24 January 2006, came to the conclusion: "The numerous criminal prosecutions against the applicant, the cumulative effects of the criminal convictions which resulted from them and the constant alternation between prosecutions and terms of imprisonment, together with the possibility that he would be liable to prosecution for the rest of his life, had been disproportionate to the aim of ensuring that he did his military service. They were more calculated to repressing the applicant's intellectual personality, inspiring in him feelings of fear, anguish and vulnerability capable of humiliating and debasing him and breaking his resistance and will. The clandestine life amounting almost to 'civil death' which the applicant had been compelled to adopt was incompatible with the punishment regime of a democratic society.
Consequently, the Court considered that, taken as a whole and regard being had to its gravity and repetitive nature, the treatment inflicted on the applicant had caused him severe pain and suffering which went beyond the normal element of humiliation inherent in any criminal sentence or detention. In the aggregate, the acts concerned constituted degrading treatment within the meaning of Article 3."
In the case of Turkish conscientious objector Halil Savda, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention came to the conclusion that "in the view of the Working Group, it has been established that the limitations on Mr. Savda’s right to freedom of religion or belief as a genuine conscientious objector is not justified in the present case, and is, thus, in violation of article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and of article 18, paragraph 1 of the ICCPR. Accordingly, the criminal prosecution, sentencing and deprivation of liberty of Mr. Savda for holding and manifesting his belief and conscience is arbitrary in terms of category II of the Working Group’s categories. " (Opinion 16/2008)
I urge you to respect the spirit of the judgement of the European Court of Human Rights, and to immediately release conscientious objector Enver Aydemir. I urge you to respect human rights.