Release conscientious objector Amirlan Tolkachev
Use this form to send the letter below to the relevant authority (Rashid Meredov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan). You can add your own notes in a separate box after the standard text, if you wish. You must include a name, address, and email address; a copy will be sent to you with a cc to the WRI office (so we have a record of how many protest emails have been sent out for this particular case).
Dear Minister Rashid Meredov,
I am very concerned about the recent imprisonment of conscientious objector Amirlan Tolkachev. On 10 July 2013 he was sentenced to eighteen months in prison.
This sentence is a violation of Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which guarantees the right to conscientious objection. Turkmenistan is a party to the ICCPR. As such, it is bound by the standards set out in the Covenant. I want to bring to your attention the decision of the Human Rights Committee on two cases of conscientious objectors from South Korea. In its decision, the Committee clarifies that not to provide for the right to conscientious objection is a violation of Article 18 of the ICCPR (CCPR/C/88/D/1321-1322/2004, 23 January 2007). This also applies to Turkmenistan.
In fact, the Human Rights Committee stated in its Concluding Observation following a discussion of Turkmenistan's human rights situation during its 104th session in Geneva on 15 and 16 March 2012: "The State party should take all necessary measures to review its legislation with a view to providing for alternative military service. The State party should also ensure that the law clearly stipulates that individuals have the right to conscientious objection to military service. Furthermore, the State party should halt all prosecutions of individuals who refuse to perform military service on grounds of conscience and release those individuals who are currently serving prison sentences." (CCPR/C/TKM/CO/1)
After Turkmenistan's most recent Universal Periodic Review at the UN Human Rights Council, the Turkmen delegation promised to respond to the Human Rights Council by September 2013 on many UPR recommendations submitted by other governments, including one to "protect the rights of conscientious objectors". Please use this as an opportunity to change your practices regarding conscientious objectors.
I urge you to immediately release Amirlan Tolkachev and all imprisoned conscientious objectors (including Zafar Abdullaev, Navruz Nasyrlaev, Juma Nazarov, Dovran Matyakubov, Yadgarbek Sharipov, Matkarim Aminov, Arslan Dovletov and Atamurat Suvkhanov) and to follow the UN recommendations. I urge you to respect human rights.