Prisoners for Peace

1st December is Prisoners for Peace Day. For over 60 years, War Resisters' International have, on this day, made known the names and stories of those imprisoned because of their actions for peace. Many are conscientious objectors, in gaol for refusing to join the military. Others have taken nonviolent actions to disrupt preparation for war.

This day is a chance for you to demonstrate your support for those individuals and their movements, by writing to those whose freedom has been taken away from them because of their work for peace.

WRI has a permanent Prisoners for Peace list, which we make a special effort to update for Prisoners for Peace Day on December 1st.

For more than 50 years, War Resisters' International has publicised the names and stories of prisoners of peace on 1 December - Prisoners for Peace Day.

Action On 1 December, put aside at least one hour and write at least four cards to prisoners; Get your peace group or class or meeting place to organise a card-writing session; Set up a stall in your town centre, perform a bit of street theatre, or do whatever else it takes to attract attention and interest. Sending cards and letters

History repeats itself, the same way I objected to compulsory military service last year, this year I boycott litigation before the military officers.

Mr Officers… I say Mr Officers and not Mr Judge, because the judge before anything has to have the characteristic of independence, whereas military officers are a branch of the executive authority. That’s why you are an officer, not a judge, no matter what names, titles or descriptions you were called.

When I started my hunger strike since nearly 40 days, many people tried to convince me to end my strike... Of the most opinions I heard was the religious point of view, which is summarized for: the hunger strike is a type of suicide, the one who commits suicide is an infidel, the church doesn’t make a prayer on strikers if they died, their destiny is eternal torture... It’s funny that the religious Christians and religious Muslims, together, had the same point of view.

Action


On 1 December,
put aside at least one hour and write at least four cards to
prisoners;


Get your peace
group or class or meeting place to organise a card-writing
session;


Set up a stall in your town centre, perform
a bit of street theatre, or do whatever else it takes to attract
attention and interest.

“In September 2001, when I demanded that the Serbian authorities recognise my right to CO there were 12 religious COs imprisoned in Serbia. Thanks to the campaign organised by the WRI and other peace groups, not only was I not jailed, but also these 12 imprisoned objectors were released in following months.”

Igor Seke, conscientious objector from Serbia

We ask you to support our efforts to support conscientious objectors and Prisoners for Peace. Take some time on 1 December – Prisoners for Peace Day – to write letters to prisoners (see the included list). And – for us to be able to continue our work – give generously to support WRI's work in support of Prisoners for Peace.


On 1 December, put aside at least one hour and write at least four cards to prisoners;

Get your peace group or class or meeting place to organise a card-writing session;

Set up a stall in your town centre, perform a bit of street theatre, or do whatever else it takes to attract attention and interest.

Support War Resisters' International's work on nonviolence in Turkey

War Resisters' International has been working with Turkish war resisters since the early 1990s. Besides support to conscientious objectors facing imprisonment, WRI worked closely with nonviolent activists in developing nonviolent alternatives in Turkey.


"I would like to end with a few words to the [...] activists, who showed me their solidarity throughout these years.

In January 2007, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg decided on the case of Turkish conscientious objector Osman Murat Ülke, who between 1997 and 1999 spent 2 1/2 years in military prison on numerous charges of „disobedience".

How the list works

First are prisoners' names (in bold), followed by their sentence, then their place of imprisonment, and, finally the reason for their detention.

Information about countries where prisoners have had their sentences suspended, or where sentences have been served or completed during the year, are in italics.

"Patriotic service is a right and duty for every Turkish citizen", states article 72 of the Turkish constitution. Military service is thus a seemingly inevitable part of a Turkish man's life, and the thought that a man who is not physically unfit would not serve in the country's military can almost not be voiced in public. Turkey as a military-nation and the myth that "every Turk is born a soldier" has been carefully crafted since the early times of the new Turkish republic, and only recently does this myth begin to show cracks.

Osman Murat Ülke declared his conscientious objection and burned his call-up papers on 1 September 1995 in Izmir. He was arrested more than a year later - on 7 October 1996 - on charges of Article 155, "alienating the people from the military".

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