Conscientious objector Halil Savda is on trial again on 12 April. Please sign this international petition addressed to the Turkish authorities and circulate it to your friends and networks.
Sign the petition on line by going to this link:
FREE HALIL SAVDA
Halil Savda, Kurdish conscientious objector, sentenced on 15 March to 15 months and 15 days, on trial again on 12 April 2007
On 15 March the Çorlu military court sentenced Mr Halil Savda to 15 months and 15 days in a military prison for his refusal to obey orders. Mr Savda was previously on trial on 7 December 2006, detained until 25 January 2007, then released from custody, and then taken back to barracks where he was arrested again and charged with “insistent insubordination” for refusing orders. On 12 April he will be on trial again for his refusal, and risks being sentenced to more time in jail. This cycle of arrest, detention, trial, “release”, new arrest, is against any notion of natural justice and must stop.
In a similar case in January 2006, the European Court of Human Rights found that the repeated proceedings against Mr Osman Murat Ülke, another conscientious objector in Turkey, constituted degrading treatment in violation of Article 3 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, to which Turkey is also a State Party.
During his detention Mr Savda was badly beaten. On 8 February Amnesty International issued a statement confirming this. His lawyer’s press statement of 2 February can be found at http://www.refusingtokill.net/Turkey%20Halil/LawyerPressStatement.htm.
Last year, Mr Mehmet Tarhan, another conscientious objector in Turkey, was also subjected to mental and physical torture in detention. International protest, including from Members of the European Parliament, led to his release from prison in March 2006 – although not to his discharge from the army. Sentenced to a further 25 months in jail, Mr Tarhan has started legal proceedings against the prison administrators for attempted lynching, and for insults, threats and theft.
Now Mr Savda, Mr Tarhan, Mr Ülke and countless others are demanding that Turkey legally recognize conscientious objection as their right, and everyone’s. They are part of a growing movement, in that region and all over the world, of people who refuse to accept the squandering of human, social and financial resources on military violence, and therefore the wholesale manufacture of poverty and repression.
We demand that the Turkish authorities stop the persecution and violence against Halil Savda, recognize him as a conscientious objector, and release him immediately.
We also demand the immediate end to all other persecution of conscientious objectors in Turkey.
Over 50 people and organisations have already signed this petition, including so far: