Conscientious objector Mustafa Hürben from North Cyprus (self-declared “Turkish Republic of North Cyprus [TRNC]”) was imprisoned on Tuesday (23rd January) for his refusal to participate in the reserve service.
Hürben was on trial on 18th January and was sentenced to pay a fine of 800 Turkish Liras (approx. 25 Euros) for his refusal to take part in the reserve service. Hürben was imprisoned today for refusing to pay the fine and will stay behind bars for 3 days.
Mustafa Hürben was summoned to the Security Forces Court of Nicosia on 16 November 2023. He made a press statement in front of the court, announcing that he would not participate in the reserve call. In his statement, he said “I did not want to be in an institution that train people to kill people, whether for defense or attack.”
The court case was postponed to 14th December 2023. Following the hearing on 14th December, the case was postponed again to be held on 18th January 2024.
On 18th January, the Security Forces Court (the military court) in the northern part of Nicosia sentenced Hürben to pay a fine of 800 Turkish Liras, payable in 5 days. As Hürben refused to pay the fine, he was imprisoned today, 23rd January, to spend 3 days behind bars.
In the TRNC, military service of up to 15 months – followed by annual one-day “mobilisation” training – is obligatory for adult male citizens, and conscientious objection to military service is not recognised.
Activists of the Initiative for Conscientious Objection in Cyprus has started a social media campaign in support of Hürben which was participated by many from inside and outside Cyprus with video messages to Hürben. If you’d like to send your own solidarity message, you can reach the Initiative for Conscientious Objection in Cyprus via their instagram page here.
Also, the Initiative activists organised an action in front of the TRNC parliament in the northern part of Nicosia today with the participation Hürben himself before his arrest. See the moments of Hürben's arrest here.
Activists are gathering this evening, 23rd January, in front of the prison, Yeni Merkezi Cezaevi, where Hürben is being held.
War Resisters' International denounces the sentencing of Mustafa Hürben and stands in solidarity with him and all conscientious objectors in Cyprus and elsewhere. Refusing to kill is not a crime. As WRI, we will continue to follow Hürben's case closely.