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(en) More on: Fri 9 Dec: 12-2pm PICKET OF TURKISH AIRLINES for Mehmet Tarhan

Date Thu, 08 Dec 2005 17:31:26 +0200

Actions in 22 cities in 13 countries in support of Mehmet Tarhan and the
right to Conscientious Objection - PICKET OF TURKISH AIRLINES, London
FRIDAY 9 December, 12-2pm 125 Pall Mall SW1 (corner of Haymarket St.) Charing Cross Tube
Anti-war protesters, refuseniks and supporters of gay and other human rights
will take to the streets on Friday 9 December to free conscientious objector
Mehmet Tarhan. Tarhan, 27, is a gay Kurdish anarchist who is a “total”
conscientious objector – against all wars and any alternative to military
service. He was sentenced to four years by a military court for “refusing orders”.
In an unprecedented coming together of people from 22 cities in 13 countries
from Israel to Brazil, the Day of Action will call attention to the widespread
refusal of conscientious objectors’ rights: while almost 100 countries impose
conscription, only 30 recognise this basic human right to refuse to kill and
be killed.
Turkey has conscription, but no right to conscientious objection. For the
Turkish military, homosexuality is an “illness”, and while men can apply
for exemption on grounds of homosexuality, they must then submit to an anal
examination and often must provide a video of sexual intercourse. This is
the equivalent of the notorious “virginity test” which the Turkish police
and army have used for decades to judicially rape and sexually assault
women, in particular Kurdish women.


For more information: 020 7482 2496/7209 4751/ 07803 789 699
Mehmet refuses to accept the classification “ill” in order to be exempted
from military service, and is demanding his right to conscientious
objection. He has been tortured and harassed since he was detained
in the military prison of Sivas in April 05. His mother and sister
have been working in his support despite financial deprivation due to
his imprisonment. He will have a re-trial on 15 December, and there
are concerns that a sadistic military court may force the anal
examination on him.

Wages Due Lesbians and Payday are demanding

+ An end to the mental and physical torture of Mehmet Tarhan, his
immediate release, and discharge from the army;

+ Recognition by Turkey of the right to conscientious objector status;

+ Abolition of Turkish military’s definition of homosexuality as an
illness, requiring anal examination and visual “evidence”.

Wages Due Lesbians (WDL) and Payday will picket the Turkish Airlines
in London. Other groups will take actions in Brazil, Finland, France,
Germany, Israel, Italy, Holland, Poland, Serbia, Scotland, Turkey and
the US. As part of the growing anti-war movement in the US, WDL and

For more information: 020 7482 2496/7209 4751/ 07803 789 699yday in
Philadelphia are planning a public speakout, and the Global Women’s
Strike and Payday in Los Angeles will picket the Turkish consulate.

Noam Kaminer, Israeli refusenik and father of Matan, one of the “Five”
Israeli refuseniks, wrote to the Turkish authorities: “Free Mehmet
Tarhan, you cannot force someone to fight if he is against it.” Again
in Israel, Mirjam Hadar, mother of another refusenik, who has been
corresponding with Hatice Tarhan, mother of Mehmet, is helping organise
the picket of the Turkish embassy in Tel-Aviv. Thus for the first time
the refusenik movement in many countries is acting together and has found
common ground with lesbian, gay and others concerned with human rights.

December 9th is also an International Day of Action for another political
prisoner: Mumia Abu-Jamal, shot and detained 24 years ago to the day.
A former Black Panther, and award-winning president of the Black Journalists
Association, he has been on death row for over 20 years. He has continued
his campaigning journalism from there, fighting against war and for justice
for all, including lesbian and gay activists. In many countries, Free Mehmet
actions will also demand justice for Mumia. We are hoping to receive a
message from Mumia in support of Mehmet.


For more information: 020 7482 2496/7209 4751/ 07803 789 699
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