TURKMENISTAN: Conscientious objector Begench Shakhmuradov sentenced to two years


War Resisters' International learned today via Forum 18 New
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,
). 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
" 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

    Apparat Prezidenta

    744000 Ashgabat


    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

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