Sivas Military Court overruled Military Court of Appeal decision on Mehmet Tarhan
Javier Garate, War Resisters' International, 15 December 2005

On 15th of December the Military Court of Sivas overruled the Military Court Appeal decision (see co alert 3 November 2005 http://wri-irg.org/news/alerts/msg00049.html). The Sivas Military Court still stick with their former decision of four years of imprisonment for Mehmet Tarhan. The case is to be sent back to the Military Court of Appeal again. This time the case will be considered at the General Board of Appeals which is composed of all the presidents of the Appeal Courts.

The Public Prosecutor, regarding the recommendation from the Military Court of Appeal to force Tarhan to have a physical examination to determine whether he was gay and therefore unfit for the military service, said at court, "Homosexuality can not be determined via physical examination and that forced physical examination violated a person's bodily integrity."

Also the Public Prosecutor said that trying someone twice for the same crime was ridiculous.
Mehmet Tarhan's lawyer tried to¬ bring the case back to the issue of conscientious objection, instead of the homosexuality issue but today's court decision didn't take into consideration what was said either by the Public Prosecutor or by Mehmet's lawyer.

The court said that they are sticking to their former decision. Mehemet Tarhan's lawyer will appeal the case again.
Mehemet Tarhan had been arrested in Izmir¬ on 8 April 2005, and has by now been charged twice¬ with "insubordination in front of his unit" At a trial on 12 July 2005, the two separate cases of insubordination had been joined, and were then tried together.

Tarhan had been on a first hunger strike from 25 May to 21 June 2005, to protest against maltreatment and the authorities' inability to protect him in prison. He ended his hunger strike after 28 days, after the prison authorities accepted his demands (see co-alert, 22 June 2005). Tarhan had been briefly released from military prison following a trial session on 9 June 2005 (see co-alert, 22 June 2005), but had been brought back to his military unit, where he was again given a military order, which he refused. This lead to the second charge, and a second trial on 12 July, where the decision was taken to join the two cases.

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