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TURKEY: Conscientious objector Halil Savda sentenced to five months' imprisonment for solidarity with Israeli conscientious objectors

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Halil SavdaHalil SavdaTurkish conscientious objector Halil Savda has been finally sentenced on 3 March 2011 to five months' imprisonment for a solidarity statement for Israeli conscientious objectors Itzik Shabbat and Amir Pastar on 1 August 2006.

Halil Savda was initially sentenced on 2 June 2008 by the Sultanahmet 1st Court of First Instance in Istanbul to five months' imprisonment for the press statement (see Bianet, 3 June 2008, but appealed against the sentence. This sentence was now upheld and finalised by the Court of Appeals.

Various institutions and committees released a press statement to protest the prison sentences handed down to Halil Savda and other conscientious objectors. Savda's sentence was upheld and finalized by the Court of Appeals, Bianet reported on 4 March 2011.

In June 2010, Halil Savda was sentenced in a similar case - a statement in support of then imprisoned Turkish conscientious objector Enver Aydemir - to six months' imprisonment, together with three co-defendants (see Bianet 18 June 2010. An appeal against this sentence is still pending.

Article 318 of the Turkish Penal Code represents an unfair limitation of the right to freedom of expression in Turkey, and is considered to be in direct breach of Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which protect the right to freedom of expression and to which Turkey is a state party.
More information on Article 318 is available at http://www.wri-irg.org/node/3554 .

War Resisters' International calls for letters of protest to the Turkish authorities, and Turkish embassies abroad.
Presidency of the Turkish Republic: Fax +90-312-4271330, email cumhurbaskanligi@tccb.gov.tr.
A protest email to the Turkish President Abdullah Gül can be sent at http://wri-irg.org/node/12315.

Andreas Speck
War Resisters' International