Turkey: Action in support of imprisoned conscientious objector


On 18 December 2004, some twenty Turkish antimilitarists protested in front of the Harbiye Officers Club against the imprisonment of conscientious objector Halil Savda (see co-alert TR14682-161204). Police pushed the antimilitarists to the other side of the road, but did not make any arrests. The antimilitarists read out a press release, in which they gave details of Halil Savda's case and expressed their solidarity.

Halil Savda was born in Sirnak/Cizre in 1974, and graduated from primary school. In 1993, he was arrested and held for 1 month in Sirnak/Cizre, during which time he was tortured repeatedly. The State Security Court then charged him with "supporting an illegal organisation (the PKK - Kurdish Workers Party)". He was then sent to prison, and released in 1996.

Upon release from prison, he was called up for military service. He first went to his military unit for basic training, but he did not report to "his" unit after his transfer at the end of basic training.

In 1997, he was again arrested, and the State Security Court charged him with "membership in an illegal organisation (PKK)". The Adana State Security Court sentenced him to 15 years in prison.

Following a change in the Turkish Penal Code, he was released from prison on 18 November 2004, and was sent handcuffed from prison to Antep Gendarmerie Station because of his desertion from military service. The he was held for six days in a cell without a bed, only with a few blankets. The Army Officers did not allow him to see his family, and he was held in isolation for the six days.

On 25 November, he was transferred to "his" military unit in Corlu-Tekirdag. There he declared that because of the torture he had to endure in 1993, he cannot serve as a soldier. In a letter to the Commander he declared himself a conscientious objector, and demands that Turkey finally recognises the right to conscientious objection. On 16 December, he was questioned at the Corlu Military Court. He was then formally arrested for "insisting on disobedience" and transferred from the military unit to Corlu Military Prison.

War Resisters' International believes that he is in acute danger of being mistreated or tortured. War Resisters' International therefore calls for protest phone calls to Corlu Military Prison (+90-282-6611781), pointing to the prohibition of torture and the right to conscientious objection. In addition War Resisters' International calls for protest emails to the General Staff, email gnkur@tsk.mil.tr A protest email can be sent at http://wri-irg.org/co/alerts/20041216c.html

War Resisters' International also calls for letters of support to Halil Savda.

Halil Savda, 5. Kolordu, 2. Askeri Cezaevi Bölügü, Corlu/Tekirdag, Turkey
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Related peace activist(s): Halil Savda