Prisoners for Peace Honour Roll 2007

How the list works

First are prisoners' names (in bold), followed by their sentence, then their place of imprisonment, and, finally the reason for their detention.

Information about countries where prisoners have had their sentences suspended, or where sentences have been served or completed during the year, are in italics.

Armenia

Although Armenia passed a law on conscientious objection in 2004, the country continues to imprison conscientious objectors. Many conscientious objectors also refuse to serve substitute service, as it is controlled by the Ministry of Defence. An amendment to the law on cosncientious objection now provides for the prosecution of objectors who refuse to perform substitute service.

In May 2006, Jehovah's Witnesses COs applied to the European Court of Human Rights, stating a violation of their human right to conscientious objection.

Eritrea

Paulos Eyassu (24/09/1994-)
Negede Teklemariam (24/09/1994-)
Isaac Mogos (24/09/1994-)
Aron Abraha (09/05/2001-)
Mussie Fessehaye (June 2003-)
Ambakom Tsegezab (February 2004-)
Bemnet Fessehaye (February 2005-)
Henok Ghebru (February 2005-)
Sawa Prison, Eritrea

Amanuel Tesfaendrias (March 2005-)
Wia Prison, Eritrea

All together nine Jehovah's Witnesses are imprisoned for conscientious objection to military service. Three Jehovah's Witnesses are imprisoned since 24 September 1994, for refusing to perform military service. All three have never been charged for their "crime". The maximum penalty for conscientious objection is three years.

Finland

Although under pressure from the UN and other international institutions, Finland continues to imprison total objectors, and refuses to bring its law on substitute service in line with international standards. On 1 October, 20 total objectors were in prison, but only five who will still be in prison on 1 December gave permission to publish their names.

Matias Silmunen (01/10/07-April 08)
Käyrän vankila, Pappilantie 36, 21370 Aura kk, Finland

Kristian Valkonen (28/08/07-09/02/08)
Satakunnan vankila, Huittisten osasto, PL59, 32701 Huittinen, Finland

(name removed) (25/06/07-26/12/07)
Vilppulan vankila, Kotiniementie 67, 35700 Vilppula, Finland

Jani Asikainen (10/07/07-30/01/08)
Naarajärven vankila, PL 1, 76851 Naarajärvi, Finland

Tatu Marttila (04/09/07-20/03/08)
Jokelan vankila/avo-osasto, PL 20, 05401 Jokela, Finland

Israel

Israel continues to imprison draft resisters for the refusal to enlist in the Israeli military. However, the Israeli practice of imposing disciplinary sentences of up to 5 weeks repeatedly makes it impossible to predict now who will be in prison on 1 December. Please check WRI's website for updates and new alerts at http://wri-irg.org/news/alerts .

Puerto Rico

José Pérez González (21519-069)
(five years - out 15/07/08)
CCM Miami, Community Corrections Office, 401 N. Miami Ave., Miami, FL33128, USA
Has been sentenced for conspiracy, damage to federal property, and/or probation violation on 01/05/03 for resisting the US military bombardment of Vieques, Puerto Rico.

Russia

Igor Sutyagin (15 years)
163050, Arkhangelsk; Ul. Pirosovaya, d. 27; FGU IK-1, 5 otryad; Russia
Imprisoned since 27/10/1999, now convicted of espionage for researching public nuclear weapons information - sentenced 07/04/04.

South Korea

In 2004, the country's Supreme Court and Constitutional Court ruled against the right to conscientious objection. There are about 1,000 conscientious objectors in prison, the great majority of them Jehovah's Witnesses. In November 2006, the United Nations Human Rights Committee decided that not to provide for conscientious objection is a violation of Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Still, COs continue to be imprisoned in South Korea.

Kim Chisoo (prisoner No. 3498, 13/09/07-13/03/09)
Seoul Jail, Box 20 P.O. Gunpoucheguk Gyeonggi-do, Korea, 437-702

Yoo Minseok (prisoner No. 1535, 17/08/07-17/02/09)
Yeoju Prison / Box 30 P.O. Yeojuucheguk Yeoju-eup, Yeoju-gun Gyeonggi-do, Korea, 469-885

Jung Jaehoon (prisoner No. 2542, 22/05/07-22/11/08)
Yeongdeungpo Jail / Box 164 P.O., Seoulgeumcheonucheguk, Korea, 152-707

Kim Dohyung (prisoner No. 906, 26/01/06-end/12/07, release on parole)
Yeongdeungpo Prison / Box 165 P.O. Geumcheonucheguk Seoul, Korea, 152-707

Park Chul (prisoner No. 2426, 07/11/06-07/05/08)
Yeongdeungpo Jail / Box 164 P.O. Seoulgeumcheonucheguk, Korea, 152-707

Song Inwook (prisoner No. 907, 23/11/06-23/05/08)
Yeongdeungpo Prison / Box 165 P.O. Geumcheonucheguk Seoul, Korea, 152-707

Park Kyungsoo (prisoner No. 1974, 14/12/06-14/06/08)
Seongdong Jail / Box 177 P.O. Songpaucheguk Seoul, Korea, 138-709

Turkey

Presently, no non-religious objector is in prison. But War Resisters' International knows of several cases of Jehovah's Witnesses, imprisoned for refusing military service based on their religious belief.

Çaglar Buldu is presently in the military prison of Afyon. From 28 April 2005 to 13 July 2006 he spent 15 month in prison. He was arrested again on 24 September 2007, and will probably be imprisoned in Afyon until 20 November. He is then likely to be transferred to a civilian prison to serve a remaining sentence of 43 days. Unfortunately WRI does not have an address for him.

Baris Görmez was arrested on 22 October, when he reported to the recruitment office. He is presently under arrest at the Istanbul Maslak City Gendarme Commandership, and it is expected that he will soon be transferred to his unit in Antalya. It is presently not know how long he will be in prison.

Turkmenistan

In 2007, Turkmenistan again imprisoned Jehovah's Witnesses for their conscientious objection to military service - most received suspended prison sentences. After an amnesty in October 2007, two conscientious objectors still have to serve their suspended sentences, with restrictions on their freedom of movement.

Not freed under amnesty were Jehovah's Witnesses Bayram Ashirgeldyyev and Begench Shakhmuradov. Both are serving two-year suspended sentences imposed this summer.

USA

Helen Woodson (03231-045) (106 months?out 09/09/11)
FMC Carswell, Max Unit, POB 27137, Ft. Worth, TX 76127
Anti-war protest at the federal courthouse, Kansas City, Missouri, on 11/03/04 in violation of parole following release from prison on 03/09/04. Pled guilty to violation and four new charges on 18/06/04.

Joseph Donato (40884-050) (27 months-out 31/01/08)
CCM Philadelphia, 2nd Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19106, USA
Convicted in December 2004 for refusal to pay war taxes on religious grounds

Rafil Dhafir (11921-052) (22 years-out 26/04/22)
FCI Terre Haute, POB 33, Terre Haute, IN 47808
Convicted for providing humanitarian and financial aid to Iraqis in violation of US sanctions, February 2005

Louis Vitale (25803-048) (5 months-out 14/03/08)
Stephen Kelly (00816-111) (5 months-out 14/03/08)
c/o the Nuclear Resister, POB 43383, Tucson, AZ 85733, USA
Prayerful trespass to deliver letter in protest of official torture policy at US Army Intelligence Headquarters, Ft. Huachuca, Sierra Vista, Arizona, 6 November

Action

  • On 1 December, put aside at least one hour and write at least four cards to prisoners;
  • Get your peace group or class or meeting place to organise a card-writing session;
  • Set up a stall in your town centre, perform a bit of street theatre, or do whatever else it takes to attract attention and interest.

Sending cards and letters

  • Always send your card in an envelope;
  • Include a return name and address on the envelope;
  • Be chatty and creative: send photos from your life, drawings;
  • Tell prisoners what you are doing to stop war and war preparations;
  • Don't write anything that might get the prisoner into trouble;
  • Think about the sort of thing you'd like to receive if you were in prison;
  • Don't begin, "You are so brave, I could never do what you have done";
  • Don't expect the prisoner to reply;
  • Remember-next year it could be you ...

Support our future work

For 49 years, War Resisters' International has publicised the names and stories of prisoners of conscience. Help us keep up the tradition. Send in a special PfP donation to WRI to help fund next year's research.

Send contributions to: War Resisters' International, 5 Caledonian Rd, London N1 9DX, Britain (tel +44-20-7278 4040; fax 7278 0444; email pfp@wri-irg.org).

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Online version: http://wri-irg.org for all four language versions of the PfP 2007 pack.