COs Sahar Vardi and Raz Bar-David Varon Sentenced to 21 Days in Prison

- Please distribute widely -

04 November 2008

 

Dear Friends,

Raz Bar-David Varon, a signatory of the 2008 high school seniors refusal letter, Reported yesterday (3 Nov.) at the Induction Base, declared her refusal to serve in the Israeli military and was sentenced to 21 days in military prison. CO Sahar Vardi, who reported at the induction base together with her, was sentenced to a third prison term, also of 21 days.

In a brief statement made on the day of her arrest, Raz said:

Today I am about to refuse serving in the Israeli army. I have witnessed this army demolishing, shooting and humiliating people whom I did not know, but have learnt to respect for their ability to go on dealing with these horrors on a daily basis. Reality is complex, of course. There's history, politics, politicians, boarders, flags. There's supposed to be a good reason for all of this. This reason is supposed to be my defense. I feel like screaming: 'This does not defend me! It hurts me!' It hurts me when people, Palestinians, are being so brutally assaulted, and it hurts me when they later turn their hatred towards me because of it. I wasn't born to serve as a soldier who occupies another, and the struggle against the occupation is mine too. It is a struggle for hope, for a reality that sometimes feels so far away. I have a responsibility for this society. My responsibility is to refuse.

The two COs were escorted to the Induction Base some 70 protestors, carrying signs and chanting in support.

The two objectors' prison addresses are:

Sahar Vardi
Military ID 6055780
Military Prison No. 400
Military Postal Code 02447, IDF
Israel
Fax: ++972-3-9579389

Raz Bar-David Varon
Military ID 6000383
Military Prison No. 400
Military Postal Code 02447, IDF
Israel
Fax: ++972-3-9579389

Since the prison authorities often block mail from reaching imprisoned objectors, we also recommend you to send your letters of support and encouragement to the imprisoned objectors via e-mail to shministim@gmail.com, and they will be printed out and delivered to them during visits.

In addition, you may want to follow some of our recommendations for action below.

Raz is the fifth woman CO of the signatories of the 2008 high school seniors letter to be imprisoned over the recent three months. Omer Goldman, Tamar Katz and Mia Tamarin have finished their second prison terms and await the army's decision in their case.

Raz and Sahar are due to be released on 21 Nov. 2008, but are likely to be imprisoned again soon afterwards.

Recommended Action
First of all, please circulate this message and the information contained in it as widely as possible, not only through e-mail, but also on websites, conventional media, by word of mouth, etc.

Other recommendations for action:

1. Sending Letters of Support

Please send the imprisoned objectors letters of support (preferably postcards or by fax) to the prison addresses above.

2. Letters to Authorities

It is recommended to send letters of protest on the objectors' behalf, preferably by fax, to:

Mr. Ehud Barak,
Minister of Defence,
Ministry of Defence,
Hakirya,
Tel-Aviv 64743,
Israel.
E-mail: sar@mod.gov.il or pniot@mod.gov.il
Tel.: ++972-3-6975540 or ++972-3-6975423
Fax: ++972-3-6976711

 

Copies of your letters can also be sent to the commander of the military prison at:

Commander of Military Prison No. 400,
Military Prison No. 400,
Military postal number 02447, IDF
Israel.
Fax: ++972-3-9579389

 

Another useful address for sending copies would be the Military Attorney General:

Avichai Mandelblit,
Chief Military Attorney
Military postal code 9605, IDF
Israel
Fax: ++972-3-569-43-70


It would be especially useful to send your appeals to the Commander of the Induction Base in Tel-HaShomer. It is this officer that ultimately decides whether an objector is to be exempted from military service or sent to another round in prison, and it is the same officer who is ultimately in charge of the military Conscience Committee:

Gadi Agmon,
Commander of Induction Base,
Meitav, Tel-HaShomer
Military Postal Code 02718, IDF
Israel.
Fax: ++972-3-737-60-52


For those of you who live outside Israel, it would be very effective to send protests to your local Israeli embassy. You can find the address of your local embassy on the web.

Here is a sample letter, which you can use, or better adapt, in sending appeals to authorities on the prisoners' behalf:

Dear Sir/Madam,

It has come to my attention that [name & military ID], a conscientious objector, has again been imprisoned for her refusal to perform military service, and is held in Military Prison No. 400.

The imprisonment of conscientious objectors such as [name] is a violation of international law, of basic human rights and of plain morals, let alone when the same person is being repeatedly imprisoned for her self-same beliefs.

I therefore call for the immediate and unconditional release from prison of [name], without threat of further imprisonment in the future, and urge you and the system you are heading to respect the dignity and person of conscientious objectors, indeed of all human beings, in the future.

Sincerely,

3. Letters to media in Israel and in other countries

Writing op-ed pieces and letters to editors of media in Israel and other countries could also be quite useful in indirectly but powerfully pressuring the military authorities to let go of the objectors and in bringing their plight and their cause to public attention.

Here are some contact details for the main media outlets in Israel:

Ma'ariv:
2 Karlibach st.
Tel-Aviv 67132
Israel
Fax: +972-3-561-06-14
e-mail: editor@maariv.co.il

Yedioth Aharonoth:
2 Moses st.
Tel-Aviv
Israel
Fax: +972-3-608-25-46

Ha'aretz (Hebrew):
21 Schocken st.
Tel-Aviv, 61001
Israel
Fax: +972-3-681-00-12

Ha'aretz (English edition):
21 Schocken st.
Tel-Aviv, 61001
Israel
Fax: +972-3-512-11-56
e-mail: letters@haaretz.co.il

Israel Hayom:
2 Hashlosha st.
The B1 Building
Tel-Aviv
Israel
e-mail: hayom@israelhayom.co.il

Jerusalem Post:
P.O. Box 81
Jerusalem 91000
Israel
Fax: +972-2-538-95-27
e-mail: news@jpost.co.il or letters@jpost.co.il

Radio (fax numbers):
Kol-Israel  +972-2-531-33-15 

and  +972-3-694-47-09 

Galei Zahal  +972-3-512-67-20 

Television (fax numbers):
Channel 1  +972-2-530-15-36 
Channel 2  +972-2-533-98-09 
Channel 10  +972-3-733-16-66 

 


We will continue updating on further developments.
Thank you for your attention and action,

Tali Lerner New Profile.

COs Sahar Vardi and Raz Bar-David Varon Sentenced to 21 Days in Prison 

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