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TURKEY: Conscientious objector Enver Aydemir arrested and mistreated in prison. Now on hunger strike

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  • Turkey
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Turkish conscientious objector Enver Aydemir was detained on 24 December on his way to a conference on conscientious objection during a random electronic background check by police at the ferry port in Kabataş, Istanbul. An arrest warrant for insubordination and possibly desertion, going back to his earlier arrest in detention in 2007, was discovered, and Enver Aydemir was transferred to Doğancılar police station and then to a military police station. From there he was sent to Maltepe Military Prison, where former conscientious objector İsmail Saygı had been severely beaten in 2008.
Enver Aydemir's lawyer Davut Erkan, who was able to visit his client only on 26 December, reported that Enver Aydemir had been beaten when he entered the prison because he refused to wear a prison uniform. He was then stripped of his own clothing and kept in his underwear in the cold until the next morning. In protest against this maltreatment, Enver Aydemir went on hunger strike.
Around noon of the same day, Enver Aydemir was forcefully dressed in prison uniform and beaten by a ranked officer. On Saturday (26 December), he was taken to the infirmary against his will, and was administered an IV against his will. He is now being held in the Military Hospital.

Enver Aydemir had declared his conscientious objection on 24 July 2007 after being forcefully taken to the Bilecik 2. Gendarme Commandership to perform military service. Refusing to serve in a secularist military because of his religious convictions, Enver was arrested and transferred to Erzurum 1. Tactical Air Force Commandership Military Prison on 31 July 2007 where he was physically attacked and forced by 10 soldiers to wear the military uniform.
Enver Aydemir was imprisoned in Erzurum for more than two months while awaiting trial on insubordination charges. There he suffered physical ill treatment on more than one occasion. He was released at the trial session on 24 October 2007 and ordered to report to the military unit in Bilecik. Since he was released without the accompaniment of soldiers, Enver Aydemir never reported to the military unit and went home instead.
His new arrest is based on the same charges.

War Resisters' International is very concerned for the health and safety of Enver Aydemir. It has happened in several past cases of conscientious objectors imprisoned in Turkey that objectors were subjected to arbitrary restrictions and disciplinary punishments in military prison.
Urgent protest faxes can be sent to the Military Prosecutor of Bilecik, who is in charge of Enver Aydemir's case. The fax number is +90-222-2375928

War Resisters' International calls for letters of protest to the Turkish authorities, and Turkish embassies abroad.

Presidency of the Turkish Republic: Fax +90-312-4271330, email cumhurbaskanligi@tccb.gov.tr.
A protest email to the Turkish President Abdullah Gül can be sent at http://wri-irg.org/node/9482.

Andreas Speck
War Resisters' International