ISRAEL: Conscientious objector Avichai Vaknin receives second prison term of 21 days

War Resisters' International, London, 2 October 2008

Israeli conscientious objector Avichai Vaknin (ISR14948) received today (2 October 2008) a second prison term of 21 days.

Avichai Vaknin, a 18 years old pacifist conscientious objector from Yehud, near Tel Aviv, already spent 21 days in prison for refusing to enlist from 21 August until 7 September 2008 (see co-alert, 26 August 2008).

Having developed a pacifist outlook, Avichai Vaknin tried to appeal to the military authorities. Eventually, he was instructed by people in the Conscription Bureau to prepare a declaration of refusal, but this declaration was ignored by the authorities; he has not even appeared before the so-called military "Conscience Committee".

He now faces repeated imprisonment, which is a violation of international legal standards.

The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in opinion 24/2003 on Israel came to the conclusion that the repeated imprisonment of conscientious objectors in Israel is arbitrary, and therefore it constitutes a violation of 14 par 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, of which Israel is a signatory. The United Nations Human Rights Committee recognised in a decision from January 2007 the right to conscientious objection as a legitimate exercise of the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion, as guaranteed by Article 18 ICCPR. In fact, in this decision on two cases of conscientious objectors from South Korea, the Human Rights Committee stated that not to provide for the right to conscientious objection is a violation of Article 18 ICCPR (see CCPR/C/88/D/1321-1322/2004 from 23 January 2007).

War Resisters' International calls for letters of support for Avichai Vaiknin:

   Avichai Vaknin
   Military ID 030146277
   Military Prison No 6
   Military Postal Code 01860, IDF
   Fax: +972-4-9540580

War Resisters' International calls for letters of protest to the Israeli authorities, and Israeli embassies abroad. An email letter can to Israels Minister of Defence Ehud Barak can be sent at

War Resisters' International calls for the immediate release of conscientious objectors Avichai Vakin and all other imprisoned conscientious objectors.

Andreas Speck
War Resisters' International

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