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Activist Faces Prison Sentence for Conscientious Objection

Turkish-Cypriot activist and politician Murat Kanatli faces a possible prison sentence over his conscientious objection to serving as a reservist in the Turkish-Cypriot army, says the NGO POST Research Institute.

Kanatli, who is general secretary of POST, has objected to being a reservist since 2009 and has been on trial for his refusal to appear at mandatory military training sessions. The trial continues on November 25th and Kanatli, who has refused to pay fines, may end up in prison the next time he appears in court in north Cyprus.

Kanatli has completed military service, says POST.

The European Bureau for Conscientious Objection (EBCO) President Gerd Greune and the Board Member Derek Brett have showed solidarity with Kanatli and have defended him, along with POST, which urges the authorities to drop the case against him. 

The authorities should abolish forced conscription as a confidence building measure and fully recognise the right to conscientious objection in a professional army according to the European and international standards, says POST.

In Cyprus, there is no right to conscientious objection. In the Republic of Cyprus, all male Cypriots are obliged to perform military service from 18 years until 50 years and in Turkish-held north Cyprus, all men between the ages of 19 and 30 are liable for military service.

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