Conscientious objector İnan Süver deserted Manisa Saruhanlı Open Prison during a dispatch to hospital this morning. Later he called his wife Remziye Süver to let her know.
His lawyer Hülya Üçpınar confirmed the news and said she was informed during a visit to the facility to meet her client this morning. Süver is said to remark "I'm not guilty, so why am I still arrested" during a phone conversation with his wife.
Süver was expected to be released in September but now, he could face more time, Üçpınar noted.
He was arrested at his home on August 5, 2010, following charges of attempted escape while serving compulsory military duty. First taken to a military prison in Istanbul, Süver went on a hunger strike on August 9. He was later transferred to a military prison in İzmir, where he pursued a five-day hunger strike.
On October 8, 2010, Süver was transferred to civilian facility. He contested several times that he was ill-treated and sentenced to solitary confinement. He protested the ambiguous legislative procedures and "given that he did not commit any crimes", prison time caused more and more stress. In protest, he once again went on a hunger strike on October 22.
A court maintained his arrest on November 8. Military authorities deemed him "unsuited for military service" on November 26 but he rejected the report, which
Five people on trial
On another account, five people are taken to court today, for allegedly "discouraging people from military service" during a press meeting where they expressed support for another conscientious objector, Enver Aydemir.
The prosecution held that the words "everybody is born as a baby" in the statement constituted evidence to the alleged crime.
Aydemir's lawyer Davut Erkan, his father Ahmet Aydemir, director Mehmet Atak, conscientious objector Halil Savda and writer Fatih Tezcan are on trial for the pres meeting they attended on January 21. At the time, Aydemir was not brought to court for his trial, and he was ill-treated for refusing to wear military uniform in military prison.
Savda and Tezcan made a statement yesterday in Istanbul and commented that their trial stands example to the "judiciary's affection for militarism and the military".
Article 318 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) is used as a threat to silence anti-militarists, they said.
Article 318 of the amended TCK was enforced on 1 June 2005 as a replacement of Article 155 of the former TCK. It stipulates:
(1) Anyone who instigates, recommends or spreads propaganda which results in discouraging people from performing military service shall be sentenced to imprisonment of from six months to two years. (2) If the act is committed through press and publications, the penalty shall be increased by one half.
In the case of Osman Murat Ülke v Turkey, the European Courts of Human Rights (ECHR) decreed in 2006 that a full deprivation of all public rights dooms the convict to 'civil death'. Nevertheless, Turkish laws were not amended accordingly.
The Council of Europe includes 47 countries and Turkey is one of two member states that do not recognize the right to conscientious objection. (AY-EÇ/EÜ)