Letter to the MEPs for Halil Savda


Dear Member of the European Parliament,


Re: Halil Savda, Kurdish conscientious objector on trial again, 15 March


We are writing about the case of Halil Savda, a Kurdish conscientious objector who is on trial in Turkey today.  He was previously on trial on 7 December 2006, detained until 25 January 2007, then released from custody, taken back to barracks where he was arrested again and charged with “insistent insubordination” for refusing orders. This cycle of arrest, detention, trial, release, new arrest, is against any notion of natural justice.


In a similar case, in January 2006 the European Court of Human Rights found that the repeated proceedings against Osman Murat Ülke, another conscientious objector in Turkey, constituted degrading treatment in violation of Article 3 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, to which Turkey is also a State Party.


During his detention Mr Savda has been badly beaten. On 8 February Amnesty International issued a statement confirming this mistreatment.  His lawyer’s press statement of 2 February can be found at http://www.refusingtokill.net/Turkey%20Halil/LawyerPressStatement.htm


Last year, Mr Mehmet Tarhan, another conscientious objector, was also subjected to mental and physical torture in detention.  International protest, including from MEPs, led to his release from prison in March 2006 – although not to his discharge from the armySentenced to a further 25 months in jail, Mr Tarhan has started legal proceedings against the prison administrators for attempted lynching, insults, threats and theft.


We urge you to intervene with the Turkish civil and military authorities to urge an end to all violence against him, his immediate release and Turkey’s recognition of his, and everyone’s, right to conscientious objection. Support demonstrations will be taking place in Greece and Turkey against Mr Savda’s persecution.


Yours for refusing to kill,


Giorgio Riva