Use this form to send the letter below to the relevant authority (Ahmet Necdet Sezer, President of the Turkish Republic). You can add your own notes in a separate box after the standard text, if you wish. You must include a name, address, and email address; a copy will be sent to you with a cc to the WRI office (so we have a record of how many email letters have been sent out for this particular case).
Dear Mr President Ahmet Necdet Sezer
I am very concerned about the treatment of conscientious objector Mehmet Tarhan, who was arrested at 5am on 8 April 2005. He was held at the police station in Izmir until the recruitment office opened, and then reassigned to a military unit in Tokat, although he had declared himself a conscientious objector.
Mehmet Tarhan has been abused by other prisoners, with encouragement and collaboration of the prison authorities. When Mehmet Tarhan went public about the abuse, the situation worsened. At his trials on 26 May and 9 June in Sivas, he clearly showed signs of physical abuse, and could hardly walk.
Although Mehmet Tarhan was released from military prison following his trial on 9 June, he was then transferred back to his military unit in Tokat, given an order, and returned to the military prison in Sivas. This is a violation of international legal standards. In the case of Turkish conscientious objector Osman Murat Ulke the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention decided in 1999 (Opinion 36/1999) that any detention of a conscientious objector after an initial detention following a first act of refusal is "arbitrary, being contrary to article 10 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights".
I call on you to ensure the safety of imprisoned conscientious objector Mehmet Tarhan. As Turkey does not recognise the right to conscientious objection (in contradiction to Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights), it should at least make sure that those conscientious objectors it throws into prison are safe.
I call on you to immediately release conscientious objector Mehmet Tarhan, as the present imprisonment is arbitrary and a violation of Article 10 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
I call on you to respect the right to life, and the right to conscientious objection.