Conscientious objector Enver Aydemir is detained in the Eskişehir Military Prison (in the west of the Turkish capital Ankara) on the grounds of refusing military service because of his religious beliefs. His trial was continued on Tuesday this week (9 February).
The court handed a one-month disciplinary fine to Aydemir because he refused to wear prison clothes ever since he had not been provided with civil clothes for a hearing on 21 January. The conscientious objector will not be able to see anybody but his lawyer for the duration of one month.
The coming hearing was postponed to 22 April to hear statements of witnesses.
Both cases tried on the same day
Aydemir was arrested and detained on 24 December 2009. Two cases were opened against him that were both tried before the Eskişehir Military Court on 9 February.
According to lawyer Davut Erkan, Aydemir refused to attend the hearing in order to express his protest against the penalty and the court. However, he was taken to hearing under compulsion and dressed in civil clothes.
Representatives of Amnesty International (AI) and Human Rights Association (İHD) followed the hearing. However, one of the observers was not allowed to the court room "by reason of his long hair".
In the hearing, Aydemir was accused of "disobeying orders by refusing to wear military clothes and carry ammunition" in the scope of the first trial. The hearing was conducted by two military judges and two military officers.
Aydemir declared his opposing opinion towards the military. Afterwards, lawyer Erkan stated that the judges holding the previous session were not independent and that this was contrary to the law and the constitution. Therefore he reiterated his application to the constitutional court to cancel the previous decrees since they had not been in accordance with the constitution.
Furthermore, Erkan claimed that army officers should not be members of the court board and that their presence was contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights. The lawyer emphasized that this constitutes a violation of the right to a fair trial.
The hearing was attended by a medical expert who stated that Aydemir's psychological situation was normal and not showing any signs of mental illness. Due to the expert's report, Aydemir was considered fit for military service. This statement was accepted by the lawyer as well.
The court decided that Aydemir is compelled to attend the coming hearing which was postponed to 2 April.
Subsequently, the court dealt with the second trial opened under charges of "insistence on disobedience by not fulfilling given orders and directives". This hearing was held by one judge only.
The prosecutor decided for lack of jurisdiction by reason of the previous hearing saying that the case should be tried by a proper court delegation. The senior judge is going to communicate the results of the revision in the following hearing. The defence and objections will be the same as in the first hearing. However, a court delegation will review the matter and decide accordingly.
Investigation into torture allegations
At the same time, the investigation related to a criminal complaint filed by Aydemir based on torture allegations in the Maltepe Military Prison is being continued. Lawyer Erkan was informed by the prosecutor last week that a statement on the matter was taken from Aydemir. Erkan reported that an investigation concerning the alleged desertion of his client is being carried out as well. (BÇ/VK)