North Cyprus News Update | Demand for release of Turkish Cypriot activist Halil Karapasaoglu

European Bureau for Conscientious Objection
35 rue van Elewijk, 1050 Bruxelles, Belgium
Tel: +32 2 648 5220, Fax: +32 2 648 6988
[email protected] / www.ebco-beoc.org

OPEN  LETTER
for the release of Turkish Cypriot activist Halil Karapaşaoğlu

To:   President of the Republic of Turkey
Mr. Abdullah Gül
Fax: +90-312-427.13.30
E-mail: [email protected]

Cc:   Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey
Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Fax: +90-312-417.04.76
E-mail: [email protected]
Brussels, 10 January 2012
Dear Mr. President,

On behalf of the European Bureau for Conscientious Objection, I am writing to you to express our grave  concern  about  the  case  of  Turkish  Cypriot  activist  Halil  Karapaşaoğlu  and  call  for  his immediate and unconditional release.

On 5 January 2012, Halil Karapaşaoğlu was sentenced to ten days confinement in military jail on the outskirts of the northern part of Nicosia after the closed hearing in a military court found him guilty of bringing the Turkish military into disrepute by writing an article in a Turkish Cypriot newspaper on claiming physical violence had been used against conscripts. He was also accused of travelling to the Greek  Cypriot  side  while  in  the  army.  Karapaşaoğlu’s  lawyers  said  however  that  he  had  been  on medical  discharge  when  he  wrote  the  article  and  travelled  to  the  south  of  the  island.  Halil Karapaşaoğlu was arrested at the Ledra Checkpoint, while he was going to his work in the southern part of Cyprus on 28 December 2011,  one day after publishing his article entitled “No to Violence Against  Lokmaci  Soldiers”  about  his  experiences  during  his  compulsory  military  service  within  the Nicosia Lokmaci Military Unit of the Turkish Cypriot Army, which is under the control of the Turkish Army and the Chief Commander of the Turkish Cypriot Army who is appointed directly by Ankara. Turkish  Cypriot  police  blocked  traffic  leading  to  the  military  court  and  prevented  the  lawyer  and relatives of Halil Karapaşaoğlu, as well as supporters and journalists from attending his trial.

The European Bureau for Conscientious Objection calls on you to withdraw all charges against Halil Karapaşaoğlu,  release  him  and  provide  effective  remedy  to  him  because  his  human  rights  and fundamental freedoms have been violated; namely the right to freedom of expression and the right to a fair and public hearing by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal established by law. Furthermore, we call on you to thoroughly investigate all the allegations of abuse within the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot militaries and bring those responsible to justice; as in the case of 21-year-old Uğur  Kantar,  the  Turkish  conscript  serving  in  the  northern  part  of  Cyprus  who  died  after  being allegedly tortured to death in a military jail in October 2011.

Yours sincerely,

Friedhelm Schneider
President of the European Bureau for Conscientious Objection

EBCO  was  founded  in  Brussels  in  1979  as  an  umbrella  structure  for  national  associations  of  conscientious objectors  in  the  European  countries  to  promote  the right  to  conscientious  objection  to  preparations  for,  and participation in, war and any other type of military activity as a fundamental human right. It enjoys participatory status  with  the  Council  of  Europe  since  1998  and  is  a  member  of  its  Conference  of  International  Non-Governmental Organisations since 2005. It provides expertise and legal opinions on behalf of the Directorate General  of  Human  Rights  and  Legal  Affairs  of  the  Council  of  Europe.  It  is  involved  in  drawing  up  the  annual report of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs of the European Parliament on the application
by  the  Member  States  of  its  resolutions  on  conscientious  objection  and  civilian  service,  as  determined  in  the “Bandrés Molet & Bindi Resolution” of 1994. It is a full member of the European Youth Forum since 1995.

Source: Demand for release of Turkish Cypriot activist Halil Karapasaoglu

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