Target: President Abdullah Gul
Goal: Obtain the release of conscientious objector Murat Kanatli
The international community should condemn the recent imprisonment of conscientious objector Murat Kanatli in Turkey. Mr. Kanatli was sent to prison when he refused to pay a fine equivalent to $230, after being found guilty of refusing to take part in military training. He has refused to take part in this training three times, due to his beliefs. He is currently in jail, and will most likely receive more time in prison. He must immediately and unconditionally be released, as he is classified under international law as a prisoner of conscience.
Participation in the military is required according to the Turkish ‘Law on Mobilization’ in the territory of northern Cyprus. Cyprus is a long disputed territory, currently split between Greece in the south and Turkey in the north. Mr. Kanatli has long argued that these charges against him are unconstitutional. Unfortunately, Turkish courts rejected his pleas, concluding that the Law On Mobilization was legal.
Recent decisions by the European Court of Human Rights have found that the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion is a human right, regardless of nationality. This ruling should apply to Mr. Kanatli’s case. Sign this petition to demand that the Turkish government immediately and unconditionally release Mr. Kanatli and throw out the remaining charges against him.
Dear President Abdullah Gul,
The recent detention of Murat Kanatli is disturbing. He is a prisoner of conscience who does not believe in the effectiveness of serving in the military. Mr. Kanatli should be protected under recent European Court of Human Rights’ decisions which have found that the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion is a human right, regardless of nationality. I ask that you immediately and unconditionally release him. By doing so, you will be in line with international treaties that your government is a party to.
Courts across the world have recognized that being a conscientious objector is a right that belongs to each individual, if they so choose to enact it. Show the international community your commitment to human rights by allowing Murat Kanatli to believe all that he believes.
[Your Name Here]
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