Imprisonment of conscientious objector Zafar Abdullaev

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Use this form to send the letter below to the relevant authority (Rashid Meredov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan). 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).

Dear Minister Rashid Meredov

I am very concerned about the arrests of conscientious objectors in Turkmenistan, and particulary about the sentencing of Zafar Abdullaev on 6 March 2012. He was sentenced for his refusal to perform military service, and is presently serving a prison sentences for his conscientious objection to military service.

Their trial and subsequent prison sentence is a violation of Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which guarantees the right to conscientious objection.
Turkmenistan is a party to the ICCPR. As such, it is bound by the standards set out in the Covenant. I want to bring to your attention the decision of the Human Rights Committee on two cases of conscientious objectors from South Korea. In its decision, the Committee clarifies that not to provide for the right to conscientious objection is a violation of Article 18 of the ICCPR (CCPR/C/88/D/1321-1322/2004, 23 January 2007). This also applies to Turkmenistan.

In fact, the Human Rights Committee stated in its Concluding Observation following a discussion of Turkmenistans human rights situation during its 104th session in Geneva 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)

I therefore urge you to immediately release Zafar Abdullaev and all imprisoned conscientious objectors, and to follow the UN recommendations. I urge you to respect human rights.

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