Saturday, May 28, 2005

Ten conscientious objectors detained

As police detain and release a group of people demonstrating support for a conscientious objector, 16 EP members send a letter to Turkish authorities expressing concern over the case

Sivas Police yesterday detained and subsequently released 10 people out of a group of 28 who arrived in the city to attend a military court hearing, reported the Anatolia news agency.

The group came to support Mehmet Tarhan, who appeared before a Sivas military court for refusing to perform his military service due to reasons of conscience. Tarhan is currently under arrest in a military prison in Sivas.

A scuffle broke out in front of the prison between the group and security forces when police tried to detain two people from the group who had previously refused to register for military service. Police detained 10 people for refusing to hand over two of their friends to the security forces.

The group told the Anatolia news agency that they were against military service.

European Parliament members express concern

Sixteen European Parliament members sent a letter to the Turkish president and governmental bodies in Turkey on May 25 to express their concern over the Tarhan case.

“We, as members of the European Parliament, call for the immediate release of Mehmet Tarhan and for the exemption of Mehmet Tarhan from military service. As long as he is imprisoned, we fear for his health and call on you to ensure that he won't be mistreated,” said the group in their letter.

The group of parliamentarians also demanded constitutional recognition of the right to conscientious objection and said more signatures would be forthcoming.

(Source: Turkish Daily News)

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