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"
18/02/2005). He had been sentenced to one year imprisonment on 10
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.
President of Turkmenistan
Fax: +993 12 355112
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Magtymkuli ave., 85
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.
War Resisters' International