"Conscientious objectors on trial" could almost be the theme of this issue of CO-Update, as we report on trials in Britain and Cyprus, and a visit to Egypt - again, following the trial and imprisonment of a conscientious objector, albeit imprisoned not for his conscientious objection, but for criticising the military.
The cases reported on in this issue of CO-Update highlight the need of continued international support for conscientious objectors and antimilitarists.
On 14 June 2011, two conscientious objectors of the Initiative for Conscientious Objection in Cyprus held a press conference in front of the Turkish Military Court in Nicosia. The reason for this was the beginning of the trial of Murat Kanatli, who has been refusing his reserve duty since 2009.
British conscientious objector Michael Lyons was court-martialed on 4 and 5 July, on charges of "disobeying a lawful order". Michael Lyons joined the Royal Navy as a medic in 2005, and applied for discharge as a conscientious objector in summer 2010. Although his Commanding Officer supported his CO application, it was rejected higher up in September 2010. Almost immediately, Michael Lyons appealed to the Advisory Committee on Conscientious Objection (ACCO), which heard his appeal in December 2010, and recommended to Minister of Defence Liam Fox to reject Michael Lyons' appeal.
From 11 to 15 May – Andreas Speck, WRI's Right to Refuse to Kill programme worker, and Igor Seke, conscientious objector from Serbia – visited Egypt, originally to act as facilitators and resource persons in two workshops on conscientious objection, pacifism, and military service, which were planned with Maikel Nabil Sanad before his arrest on 28 March 2011. Andreas Speck also visited Cairo in early April 2011, during the trial of Maikel Nabil Sanad.
WRI/ofog Seminar and WRI Council meeting in Luleå, Sweden
This year's WRI Council meeting will take place from 19-21 July 2011 in Luleå, in the very north of Sweden. The Council meeting itself is part of a seminar and action camp under the title "War Starts Here", organised by WRI's new Swedish affiliate ofog. The camp and seminar will begin on 22 July, and last until 29 July.
Organised by Justícia i Pau (Centre Delàs), Fundació per la Pau, War Resisters' International & the European Network Against Arms Trade.
This seminar will bring together representatives from organisations from all over the world that campaign against different forms and aspects of war profiteering – the reaping of financial benefits from conflict and war – for three days of mutual learning and network building.