War Resisters' International is concerned about the recent sentencing of Juma Nazarov, a Jehovah's Witness, for his conscientious objection to military service. Juma Nazarov, 19, was sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment on 23 July for refusing military service on grounds of religious faith. After he lodged his refusal on 25 April, his case was handed over to prosecutors, Jehovah's Witnesses told Forum 18. He was summoned to the Prosecutor's Office on the evening of 7 May where he was questioned about his refusal. Nazarov again signed a statement that he was refusing compulsory military service on grounds of his faith. He was allowed to return home after two and a half hours. However, when he returned on 10 May, he was arrested and held in pre-trial detention from then on (see co-alert, 17 May 2012).
It is presently not known whether Juma Nazarov has already been transfered to Seydi labour camp, where most conscientious objectors are being held to serve their sentence.
Presently, in total four conscientious objectors are serving prison sentences in Turkmenistan:
- Juma Nazarov, sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment on 23 July 2012
- Zafar Abdullaev was sentenced to two years' imprisonment in March 2012 (see co-alert, 12 May 2012)
- Mahmud Hudaybergenov was sentenced to two years' imprisonment in August 2011
- Navruz Nasyrlaev was sentenced to two years' imprisonment in May 2012. This is his second prison sentence for his refusal of military service (see co-alert, 20 February 2010).
Four other conscientious objectors have been sentenced to suspended prison sentences since May 2012.
The Human Rights Committee stated in its Concluding Observations following a discussion of Turkmenistans human rights situation during its 104th session on 15 and 16 March 2012: "The State party should take all necessary measures to review its legislation with a view to providing for alternative military service. The State party should also ensure that the law clearly stipulates that individuals have the right to conscientious objection to military service. Furthermore, the State party should halt all prosecutions of individuals who refuse to perform military service on grounds of conscience and release those individuals who are currently serving prison sentences." (CCPR/C/TKM/CO/1)
War Resisters' International calls for protest letters to the Turkmen authorities, and Turkmen embassies abroad.
President of Turkmenistan
Fax: +993 12 355112
War Resisters' International calls for the immediate release of Juma Nazarov, Zafar Abdullaev, Mahmud Hudaybergenov, Navruz Nasyrlaev, and of all other imprisoned conscientious objectors.
War Resisters' International