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Conscientious objectors Tamar Katz and Raz Bar-David Varon

  • Israel
Not sent after:
  • 20 Dec 2008
  • Use this form to send the letter below to the relevant authority (Minister of Defense Ehud Barak). 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).

Conscientious objectors Tamar Katz and Raz Bar-David Varon

Dear Ehud Barat,

I am very concerned about the imprisonment of conscientious objectors Raz Bar-David Varon, who was sentenced on 1 December to 21 days, and Tamar Katz, who was sentenced on 1 December also to 21 days. For both this is the third repeated sentence. It is highly likely that both will receive a new prison term after serving the present sentence.

Both refuse to enlist in the Israeli Army based on beliefs and conscience. They declared their conscientious objection in letters to you or the Israeli Army, and are signatories of the 2008 High School seniors' refusal letter.

Both claim their human right to conscientious objection, as guaranteed by Article 18 of the ICCPR. They now face repeated imprisonment, which is a violation of international legal standards. The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in opinion 24/2003 on Israel came to the conclusion that the repeated imprisonment of conscientious objectors in Israel is arbitrary, and therefore it constitutes a violation of 14 par 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, of which Israel is a signatory. The United Nations Human Rights Committee recognised in a decision from January 2007 the right to conscientious objection as a legitimate exercise of the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion, as guaranteed by Article 18 ICCPR. In fact, in this decision on two cases of conscientious objectors from South Korea, the Human Rights Committee stated that not to provide for the right to conscientious objection is a violation of Article 18 ICCPR (see CCPR/C/88/D/1321-1322/2004 from 23 January 2007).

I therefore urge you to immediately release Raz Bar-David Varon and Tamar Katz, and all imprisoned conscientious objectors. I urge you to respect human rights.