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TURKMENISTAN: Conscientious objector Begench Shakhmuradov sentenced to two years

Country:
  • Turkmenistan
Has been sent:
  • Yes
Alert:

War Resisters' International learned today via Forum 18 New Service that Turkmen conscientious objector Begench Shakhmuradov has been sentenced to two years suspended sentence yesterday, on 12 September 2007. He is the fifth Turkmen conscientious objector to be sentenced within the last few weeks.
The conditions are likely to include regular reporting to the police, a ban on leaving the house at night and a requirement to get permission if he wants to leave the city.

As reported in a co-alert from 7 September 2007, Begench Shakhmuradov was called up for military service in May 2007, and was deemed fit for military service, although he suffers from tuberculosis which he contracted while serving a prison sentence in 2005 for "evasion of call-up for military service" (see co-alert, 18/02/2005). He had been sentenced to one year imprisonment on 10 February 2005.
Following a presidential decree, Begench Shakhmuradov and three other imprisoned conscientious objectors were released on 16 April 2005, allegedly to avoid that Turkmenistan to be classified as a "country of particular concern" under the USA's International Religious Freedom Act.

"I told the court I am of course prepared to do any alternative service," Shakhmuradov told Forum 18. "I told the authorities this two years ago when they first sentenced me. It would be just if a civilian alternative to military service existed." He said that without such an alternative, other Jehovah's Witness young men will "certainly" be sentenced.

War Resisters' International calls for the protest letters to the Turkmen authorities, and Turkmen embassies abroad.
    Kurbanguly BERDYMUHAMMEDOV
    President of Turkmenistan
    Apparat Prezidenta
    744000 Ashgabat
    TURKMENISTAN
    Fax: +993 12 355112

    Rashid Meredov
    Minister of Foreign Affairs
    Magtymkuli ave., 85
    744000 Ashgabat
    Email mfatm@online.tm
    A protest email can be sent at http://wri-irg.org/co/alerts/20070913a.html.

War Resisters' International calls for the immediate cancellation of the sentence of Begench Shakhmuradov and all other imprisoned conscientious objectors.

Andreas Speck
War Resisters' International

Archives of co-alert can be found at http://wri-irg.org/news/alerts