Third (!) imprisonment of Turkish-Cypriot reservist conscientious objector Halil Karapaşaoğlu totally unacceptable

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Activists protesting in support of conscientious objector Halil Karapasaoglu

The European Bureau for Conscientious Objection (EBCO), War Resisters’ International (WRI), the International Fellowship of Reconciliation (IFOR), and Connection e.V. strongly condemn the third (!) imprisonment of Turkish-Cypriot reservist conscientious objector Halil Karapaşaoğlu, and call on the authorities in the "TRNC" to urgently amend the Military Service Act so as to recognise the right of conscientious objection to military service, and to implement the Murat Kanatlı v Türkiye judgement of the European Court of Human Rights.

On 30 May 2024, Halil Karapaşaoğlu was sentenced by the Security Forces Court of Nicosia (Military Court of Nicosia in the northern part of Cyprus) to a fine of 1000 Turkish liras (29 euros) for refusing to serve his reservist military service on grounds of conscientious objection. Halil Karapaşaoğlu refused to pay the fine, so it was converted to 3 days’ imprisonment, and he was immediately arrested and transferred to the prison, even in handcuffs. The Initiative for Conscientious Objection in Cyprus (Kıbrıs’ta vicdani ret) organised solidarity actions in front of the court and in front of the prison the same day. Halil Karapaşaoğlu was released the next morning, 31 May 2024. 

Activists protesting in support of Halil Karapasaoglu in front of the prison

EBCO President Alexia Tsouni and WRI Council Member and human rights lawyer Hülya Üçpınar were present at the trial of Halil Karapaşaoğlu as international observers, gave press statements, and met with deputy parliament speaker Fazilet Ozdenefe, parliamentary law committee members Urun Solyalı and Aysegül Baybars at the “TRNC Parliament” together with conscientious objectors Murat Kanatlı and Alp Bürge from the Initiative for Conscientious Objection in Cyprus on 30 May 2024.

The four organisations express our full solidarity with Halil Karapaşaoğlu and the Initiative for Conscientious Objection.

Read our relevant recent joint press release "Landmark judgment by the European Court of Human Rights in the case of reservist conscientious objector Murat Kanatlı v Türkiye": https://ebco-beoc.org/node/619

For a detailed report on the situation of conscientious objectors in Cyprus, see EBCO’s recently published Annual Report “Conscientious Objection to Military Service in Europe 2023/24”, which is available on the EBCO website: www.ebco-beoc.org.

Watch the videos from the solidarity actions organised by the Initiative for Conscientious Objection in Cyprus:

For more information and interviews please contact:

Derek Brett, EBCO Chief Editor, derekubrett@gmail.com, mobile +41 77 444 4420.

Halil Karapaşaoğlu (halilkarapasaoglu@gmail.com) & Murat Kanatlı (muratkanatli@gmail.com), Initiative for Conscientious Objection in Cyprus (Kıbrıs’ta vicdani ret).

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