Moscow courts uphold constitutional right to CO


On 8 April, a Moscow district court excused conscientious objector Pavel Zverev from military service. Judge Lidiya Sorokina read Article 59 of the constitution aloud in court. She ruled that this constitutional assurance should be upheld, even though there is still no law establishing a structure for civilian service. The military commission announced that it was satisfied with the ruling and would not again approach Zverev, a student of theology and philosophy at Moscow University and a part-time volunteer with Greenpeace Russia.

Following this case, on 21 April, a second objector — Aleksei Ivanov — was also granted the right to alternative service. He and Zverev are now supposed to wait for a law to be passed which provides for civilian service.

On 2 March, one of the pioneer Russian objectors — Alexander Pronozin — again appeared in court. Pronozin, who could be exempted from military service on the grounds of poor eyesight, has been insisting on recognition of the right to objection. In 1990 he was placed under psychiatric examination for three weeks. In the latest case, the judge ruled that he should have a thorough medical examination, presumably trying to find a medical excuse for avoiding the issue.


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