Turkey: Military prolongs imprisonment of conscientious objector İnan Süver

“I haven’t committed any crime, so why am I in prison?”

by Connection e.V.

(07.06.2011) Further on the Turkish military prosecution of conscientious objector İnan Süver. His possible release on license for this 25 months sentence was delayed for 9 months, because he escaped from the civil prison for some days. He declared no his escape: “I haven’t committed any crime, so why am I in prison?” Now İnan Süver has to stay in jail at least until June 13, 2012.

Yesterday a further military trial was postponed until September 26, 2011, pending the approved medical report about his unfitness which has not yet been delivered. The trial was opened with the charge of desertion and disobeying orders.

İnan 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 İnan Süver deserted, he did not 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, İnan Süver was arrested again and 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. Several times he was mistreated in prison - like other conscientious objectors beforehim.

On November 26, 2010, İnan Süver was taken to a military hospital to have his performance capability assessed. He was declared unfit for duty retroactively as of 2008.

April 21, 2011, İnan Süver escaped from civil prison resulting in a 20-day disciplinary isolation punishment by the prison administration. A possible release on license for his 25 months sentence, which would have been reached on September 14, 2011, was delayed for 9 months.

Because of inhuman treatment in the military as well as in the civil prison Inan Süver went on hunger strike several times. “We are very concerned,” declared the Initiative for Solidarity with Inan Süver. “His health had deteriorated due to the conditions.”


Turkey does not recognize the right to conscientious objection. Every Turkish man is obliged as of the age of 20 to complete military service. Conscientious objectors who refuse to put on uniform or refuse orders are charged with refusal to follow orders, but after completing 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 with no upper age limit.

The repeated criminal prosecution of conscientious objectors and multiple guilty verdicts in perpetuity in Turkey, as with Inan Süver’s case, was seen as irreconcilable with the ban on inhumane treatment anchored in Article 3 of the European Human Rights Convention by the European Court of human rights. Its judgement of January 24, 2006, demanded that Turkey correct its laws to prevent this for the future.

Connection e.V. demands immediate release from prison of İnan Süver. 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 Turkish President Abdullah Gül against the treatment of İnan Süver and demand with us his immediate release from prison via the online fax campaign. It is also possible to send a Fax directly to the Turkish president at 0090-312-4701316.

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, Manisa E Tipi Kapalı Cezaevi, Manisa/Türkei

Connection e.V.: Press Release, June 7, 2011

Keywords:    ⇒ Conscientious Objection   ⇒ Desertion   ⇒ Inan Süver   ⇒ Mistreatment   ⇒ Prosecution   ⇒ Turkey