Cyprus: Turkish Cypriot conscientious objector's application to ECtHR accepted

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A mural - Halil Karapasaoglu's face

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has accepted a Turkish Cypriot conscientious objector's application against Turkey.

Conscientious objector Halil Karapasaoglu, based in North Cyprus - a self-declared state recognised only by Turkey, was sentenced to 20 days in prison in January 2019. Karapasaoglu's imprisonment was due to his refusal to pay a fine for not performing reserve service – which he objected on grounds of conscience. His sentence was cut short to 3 days after his successful appeal.

During the appeal hearing, Karapasaoglou’s lawyer argued that the decision to sentence Karapasaoglu violated articles 5 and 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), as well as the fair trial principle.

In July 2019, Karapasaoglu submitted an application to the ECtHR for violations of articles 5, 6 and 9 of the ECHR - referring to deprivation of liberty, the right to a fair trial and the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion respectively.

The Initiative for Conscientious Objection in Cyprus informed that Karapasaoglu's lawyer Öncel Polili received a letter from ECtHR -dated 10 January- confirming that Karapasaoglu's application was accepted.

Together with Karapasaoglu's case, there are now three cases against Turkey in the ECtHR by conscientious objectors based in the Turkish-held north. The other two cases, submitted by conscientious objectors Murat Kanatli and Haluk Selam Tufanli, are currently before the court.

Sources: In-Cyprus, ECHR accepts application from Turkish Cypriot conscientious objector, 4 February 2020;Yeniduzen; Karapaşaoğlu’nun davası AİHM'de dosyalandı, 4 February 2020; Havadis, AİHM,vicdani retçi Halil Karapaşaoğlu’nun dosyanın işleme konduğu bilgisini verdi, 4 February.

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