Cyprus (North): Conscientious objector Mustafa Hürben will be on trial (Updated)

Mustafa Hurben making a statement with Initiative for Conscientious Objection in Cyprus activists

On 18th January, Thursday, conscientious objector Mustafa Hürben from North Cyprus (self-declared “Turkish Republic of North Cyprus [TRNC]”) will be on trial due to his refusal to participate in the reserve service. 

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. It is expected to be concluded with a single hearing on 18th January.

Meanwhile, on 8th January, a bill was tabled in the parliament of the TRNC by the opposition party Republican Turkish Party (CTP) which would have legalised conscientious objection. However, it was rejected by MPs from the ruling coalition

Under current circumstances, Mustafa Hürben is expected to be sentenced to prison at tomorrow’s hearing, which will also be attended by WRI Executive Committee member Merve Arkun as an international observer. 

Activists of Initiative for Conscientious Objection in Cyprus 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.

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.

WRI stands in solidarity with Mustafa Hürben and all conscientious objectors in Cyprus and elsewhere. 

Update (18th January 2024)

Today (18th January 2024), the Initiative for Conscientious Objection in Cyprus shared an update with WRI regarding the court hearing at the Security Forces Court (the military court) in the northern part of Nicosia, Cyprus. The Initiative reported that the prosecution accepted that Hürben is a conscientious objector. However, as there is no legislative provision in the TRNC regarding conscientious objection to military service, the judge explained that the option of acquittal was not an option. Considering all the previous court decisions on the issue, the court decided not to give a prison sentence to Hürben but the lowest possible fine according to the TRNC law, which is a fine of 800TL (approximately 25 Euros), payable in 5 days. If Hürben doesn't pay the amount in 5 days, he will be imprisoned for 3 days.

The Initiative for Conscientious Objection in Cyprus reported that Mustafa has no intention to pay the fine and he expects to be imprisoned on Tuesday, 23th January 2024.

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