International Support of Conscientious Objectors and Deserters
Turkmenistan: Fourth known 2019 conscientious objector jailing
(05.09.2019) An Ashgabad court jailed 20-year-old Jehovah’s Witness Azat Ashirov for two years on 31 July for refusing compulsory military service on grounds of conscience. He had set out his objections in writing and offered to perform an alternative civilian service. Instead prosecutors claimed he had evaded his obligation fraudulently. Seven Jehovah’s Witness conscientious objectors are now jailed, four of them in 2019.
South Korea: Government plans tougher regulations against conscientious objectors
(17.12.2018) On 13 December 2018, another hearing was held in Seoul, South Korea, on a legislative amendment proposing a so-called alternative service for conscientious objectors. As it turns out, the government does, in fact, provide for stricter regulations that have conscientious objectors serve and live exclusively in detention centers for a period nearly twice as long, viz. 36 months.
(03.09.2019) Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to form a government following the April election because his former coalition partner, Avigdor Lieberman of the Yisrael Beiteinu party, insisted on legislation that would subject more ultra-Orthodox yeshiva students to the draft. Lavy is the founder of a non-profit organization called Hazit that is advocating for a professional volunteer army and the end of the military draft in a shift to a model similar to that of the United States.
Israel: A conscientious objector was released - another was imprisoned
(25.08.2019) After twenty five days of imprisonment the IDF’s Conscience Committee granted conscientious objector Maya Brand-Feigenbaum a release from military service. "I believe that refusing to serve in the military is the best and most effective way for me to promote anti-war principles and contribute to ending the occupation", she said.
Concurrently, Yasmin Ricci-Yahav, age 18 from Mevasseret Zion, declared her refusal to enlist for the first time at the IDF recruitment office and was sentenced to ten days of imprisonment which she will serve in Prison 6. “I hope my decision will contribute, in however small a way, to a gradual change of consciousness. And that this change will lead in turn to a search for a solution based on justice and equality for Israelis and Palestinians,” she wrote in her refusal declaration.