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13 December 2005
Dear Member of the European Parliament,
You may already know of the resounding success of the International Day of Action for Mehmet Tarhan, the Kurdish gay total conscientious objector, whom the Turkish military sentenced to four years for “insubordination” on 10 August 2005 (see photos below). Anti-war protesters, refuseniks and supporters of lesbian and gay and other human rights took to the streets in 22 cities in 13 different countries worldwide. We keep receiving messages of support from individuals and organizations who are outraged by this attack on the fundamental human right to refuse to kill and be killed.
We are sure that you also know about the letter (attached) of 19 MEPs to the Turkish President, Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary, demanding Mehmet Tarhan’s release from prison and exemption from military service.
Tomorrow 14 December, the day before Mr Tarhan’s new trial, Mr Elmar Brok, Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, will report to the European Parliament in Strasbourg on progress achieved in the enlargement process of the European Union. You may want to consider adding your signature to the 18 MEPs’ letter, and propose to the plenary that Mr Tarhan’s case be mentioned in the EU’s reports on Turkey, starting with the Turkey 2005 Progress Report.
Finally, we have received news that two guards and two prisoners who allegedly attacked Mehmet Tarhan last April when he was first jailed in Sivas are going to be put on trial on 29 December. This victory is the result of Mehmet Tarhan’s hunger strikes and of international support, pressing for the punishment of his attackers. It is a first step towards Mr Tarhan finally getting justice.
We expect the European Parliament to take effective steps with the Turkish authorities to make sure that Mr Tarhan’s new trial is a fair one, and that it demands his immediate release and discharge from the army.
Yours for refusing to kill.
Didi Rossi Giorgio Riva
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