PO Box 287 London` NW6 5QU England Tel +44 (0)20 7482 2496 Fax +44 (0)20 7209 4761
Dear sisters and brothers,
This is an urgent action alert in support of conscientious objector Halil Savda who is being persecuted by the Turkish military authorities.
Please write letters supporting him. You may want to write your own letter or use the model letter below as a basis or simply sign the model, and then send it.
Please also send us a copy of your letter. We will forward it to the Members of the European Parliament who have shown concern for the struggle of conscientious objectors in Turkey (see list below). If you know of any other MEP or indeed any others in any European political institution who might be sympathetic, please let us know and we’ll also contact them.
Yours for refusing to kill,
Giorgio Riva Eric Gjertsen
Payday UK Payday US
List of MEPs who will receive your letter:
Sophie in’t Veld
President of Turkey Ahmet Necdet Sezer, firstname.lastname@example.org
Commander of Turkish Armed Forces and Chief of General Staff Yaşar Büyükanit, email@example.com
Military Court in Çorlu, fax 00 90 282 654 4095
Turkish Ambassador to the UK H.E. Mr Akin Alptuna, firstname.lastname@example.org
Turkish Ambassador to the USA Dr. Osman Faruk Logoglu, email@example.com
A list of all Turkish embassies (in Turkish and English) can be found at http://www.mfa.gov.tr/MFA/Ministry/TurkishRepresentations/
27 March 2007
Re: Halil Savda, Kurdish conscientious objector, sentenced on 15 March to 15 months and 15 days, on trial again on 29 March.
We understand that 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. We are outraged to hear that on 29 March 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
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.