Turkey: Conscientious Objector Inan Süver Threatened with more Imprisonment
Please send letter of protest
(21.02.2011) Kurdish-Turkish conscientious objector Inan Süver has been in prison since August 5, 2010. He has protested the inhumane conditions of his detention by means of several hunger strikes. Now on March 7, 2011, he is facing a fourth trial for desertion. For this reason, Connection e.V. is initiating a a fax campaign. Join us expressing our protest to the General Staff of the Turkish military.
Inan Süver’s Story
Inan Süver was drafted in 2001. Because he deserted several times he was sentenced to a total of 25 months in prison as a result of 3 trials. He served seven months of his sentence several years ago. After his interim release he went underground.
When Inan Süver deserted, he didn’t know anything about the idea of conscientious objection. Later he learned about it and declared on October 10, 2009: „Dear Commanders, I would like to inform you of something today. I have heard that there is such a thing as a right to be a conscientious objector. I hereby claim my right to conscientious objection. You should know that I am an enemy of the state, but that I will never raise a weapon against you. I would rather be killed than to kill anyone myself.“
On August 5, 2010, Inan Süver tried to apply for identity papers in Bakirköy, a district in the city of Istanbul. When checking his identity, the authorities discovered that he was wanted as a deserter. He was arrested again.
Inan Süver went on hunger strike several times between August 9 and October 31 on the grounds of inhumane treatment, in both military and civilian prisons. Finally, on the order of the warden of the Buca civilian prison who exclaimed, „Throw this traitor into #17“ he was locked in a cell that is known by the name Siberia. He described this in a letter to his family and added that there were rats in the cell, and that he was given no water, sugar or cigarettes. After an improvement in his situation he ended his hunger strike 9 days later. He was transferred at the beginning of January to the regional prison Gediz in Kütahya.
On November 26, 2010, Inan Süver was taken to a military hospital to have his performance capability assessed. He was declared unfit for duty retroactively as of 2008.
With the prison term of 25 months already served, Inan Süver’s discharge can be expected for June 6, 2011. But further military trials are hanging over him: Due to desertion in 2007, and due to his refusal to put on a uniform after his arrest in August 2010.
Turkey does not recognize the right to conscientious objection. Every Turkish man is obligated as of the age of 20 to complete military service. Conscientious objectors who refuse the uniform or orders are charged with refusal to follow orders, but after they serve their prison sentence, they are re-enlisted. This vicious circle can last a lifetime, since the compulsory military service is considered fulfilled only after completion of the service.
Turkey has not yet implemented a 2006 decision of the European Court of Human Rights. The judgment of the court demanded that Turkey correct its laws to prevent repeated criminal prosecution of conscientious objectors and multiple guilty verdicts in the future. The Court found such acts irreconcilable with the ban on inhumane treatment anchored in Article 3 of the European Human Rights Convention.
Connection e.V. demands the cessation of all proceedings against Inan Süver and his immediate release from prison. Connection e.V. demands at the same time that Turkey recognize the right to conscientious objection and stop all criminal proceedings against conscientious objectors.
Connection e.V. Asks for Support
Protest to the General Staff of Turkey against the treatment of Inan Süver and demand with us the cessation of all criminal proceedings against him and his immediate release from prison. We have started an online fax campaign. It is also possible to send a Fax directly to the Turkish General Staff at 0090-312-4250813 (Genelkurmay Başkanlığı, BES Ş.Md.lüğü, 06100 Bakanlıklar/ANKARA).
Write to İnan Süver. Every letter means important support in prison. You can also send letters to Inan Süver online through our online campaign. We will forward them for you. Letters can also be sent directly to: İnan Süver, Gediz Kapali Cezaevi, Kütahya/Türkei
Connection e.V., February 22, 2011