Conscientious objector Halil Karapaşaoğlu has had his 20 day prison sentence reduced to three days by the Nicosia Military Court. This is because an amendment to military law is to be discussed by a parliamentary committee.
An appeal was filed by Mr Karapaşaoğlu’s lawyer, Öncel Polili, who claimed that the decision by the military court violates articles 5 and 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights, as well as the fair trial principle. Polili further described the penalty against Karapaşaoğlu [2000TL fine] as extortionate and called on the government to discuss the conscientious objection bill.
Polili further said that their demand is that the admission that Karapaşaoğlu’s rights were violated. He further asked the court to reduce his conviction.
Meanwhile, the draft bill on military service which includes the amendments on the conscientious objection issue, has been already published at the Official Gazette in order for the public to be informed and to submit its views. The draft bill will be submitted to the Assembly on January 30.
New Cyprus Party (YKP) General Secretary Murat and fellow conscientious objector Murat Kanatlı
hailed the decision to free Mr. Karapaşaoğlu. “The legal proceedings need to continue. The legislation has reached an important stage. Our aim after this is for the law to be discussed by the committee on January 30”, he said.
Karapaşaoğlu’s lawyer Öncel Polili said: “This is an important step in the development of rights and freedoms.”
“Now the duty lies with the Parliament”.