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.

Article 318:

(1) Persons who give incentives or make suggestions or spread propaganda which will have the effect of discouraging people from performing military service shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a term of six months to two years.

Editorial

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Welcome to the special edition of The Broken Rifle for Prisoners for Peace Day - 1 December. This year we focus on the situation in Turkey. We made this decision before the present escalation of the Turkish-Kurdish conflict, which again highlights the power of the military in Turkish society and politics: it is the institution which stands above everything - the government, the constitution, international human rights standards.

1 December - Prisoners for Peace Day: Focus on Turkey

Prisoners for Peace Day 2007 will focus on the situation of conscientious objectors and antimilitarists in Turkey (see co-update No 31, August 2007).

1 December - Prisoners for Peace Day: Focus on Turkey

Prisoners for Peace Day 2007 will focus on the situation of conscientious objectors and antimilitarists in Turkey (see co-update No 31, August 2007). Watch this space for more updates.

More information will also be available on the WRI website.

Editorial

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October was not a good month for Russian human rights activists. On 7 October, Anna Politkovskaya, a well know journalist who regularly exposed Russian human rights violations in Chechnya, was murdered in her flat in Moscow. Six days later, on 13 October, the Russian Chechen Friendship Society (RCFS) of Nizhnii Novgorod was ordered closed by a local court, because the recently adopted NGO law makes it illegal for an organisation to be headed by a person convicted of "extremist activities".

Editorial

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October was not a good month for Russian human rights activists. On 7 October, Anna Politkovskaya, a well know journalist who regularly exposed Russian human rights violations in Chechnya, was murdered in her flat in Moscow. Six days later, on 13 October, the Russian Chechen Friendship Society (RCFS) of Nizhnii Novgorod was ordered closed by a local court, because the recently adopted NGO law makes it illegal for an organisation to be headed by a person convicted of "extremist activities".

On 7 October 2006, Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya was murdered outside her flat in Moscow. This was not an isolated case -- several journalists have been killed in Russia in recent years -- and it was not a coincidence that Anna Politkovskaya was the target.

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.

The Russian military faces (at least) two human rights problems: dedovshchina, the hazing of new conscripts in the Russian army (see book review below), and human rights violations by Russian military in Chechnya or other conflict areas.

Dedovshchina

Book review

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Dedovshchina in the Post-Soviet Military: Hazing of Russian Army Conscripts in a Comparative Perspective

Françoise Dauce and Elisabeth Sieca-Kozlowski (ed.), ibidem, Stuttgart 2006

This book is not written from a pacifist perspective -- hardly so, and many authors write from a clearly pro-military perspective. But this is not a weakness, as we as readers can easily add this perspective. What the book offers is some insight into the phenomenon of dedovshchina -- the hazing of Russian conscripts to a degree unknown in Western societies.

Dear member and supporter of War Resisters' International,

Since 1956 1 December is celebrated as Prisoners for Peace Day - a day to think of those who are imprisoned for their courageous acts against war, violence, and human rights violations. This year War Resisters' International chose Russia as a focus, and the recent events highlight the importance of support to peace and human rights activists in Russia.

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