Israel: Israel: Ashin in Mil Prison No 6

warresisters@gn.apc.org
Thu, 7 Nov 1996 18:06:06 +0100


7 November 1996

CO SERGEI ASHIN ARRESTED
Sergei Ashin, a Christian pacifist from Haifa, was arrested
at 8.30 pm on Monday, 4 November by Israeli civilian police.
He has been sentenced by an officer to 28 days of
imprisonment and on 6 November was transferred to Military
Prison No 6 in Atlit.

Sergei was awaiting a date for a hearing by the Israeli High
Court of Justice of his petition against a military committee's
refusal to grant him an exemption as a CO.

BACKGROUND
Sergei Ashin and his parents came to Israel from Kazakhstan
in 1994 when he was 16 years old. At the age of 17, he was
called up for medical tests for the military. The more
contact he had with the military, the more he became aware
of the violence it entailed, and the more he realised the
contradiction between war and death and the message of Jesus.

On 10 June 1996, Sergei Ashin filed a formal application
for an exemption from military service on grounds of
conscience. Israeli law authorises the Minister of Defence
to grant such exemptions. Sergei was then called to appear
before a military committee consisting only of active
military officers involved in recruitment. After posing
questions such as "what's violent about the army?" and
threatening imprisonment, the committee found Sergei's
refusal to do military service "not sincere" on two grounds:
a) that his application had been filed only one month before
the date of conscription. (There is nothing in any Israeli
law about a date for filing applications for exemption.)
b) that alternative service would only be acceptable to
Sergei if it was in a completely civilian framework and
without him even receiving any income support from the
Israeli Defence Forces.

On 31 July, Sergei was supposed to be conscripted. Through
advocate Lynda Brayer, he petitioned the Israeli High
Court of Justice against the decision. However this court
refused a request that they should issue a temporary injunction
preventing his arrest while the petition is pending.

A hearing scheduled for 8 October was posptoned, because
the state's response to the petition was given too late.
One of the judges reminded the representatives of the State
that as no injunction had been issued, the petitioner
should either be in jail or doing basic training!

In Israel around 50% of all Israeli citizens are not drafted.
Israeli Palestinians are not drafted out of fear of disloyalty
and are consequently denied certain social benefits
reserved for army veterans. Ultra-Orthodox Yeshiva Students
are not drafted but they are not denied any benefits. Religious
Jewish young women may be offered voluntary service, or if
they are conscientious objectors they may (with difficulty)
be exempted.

ACTION
Conscientious Objectors in Israel ask for letters of protest
against this "violation of international law with regard to
freedom of religion and conscience" to the following addresses:

Yitzhak Mordechai,
Minister of Defence,
Hakirya, Tel-Aviv
fax: +972 3 6916940

Tzahi Tanegbi
Minister of Justice
29 Saleh E-Din Street
East Jerusalem
fax: +972 2 6285438

Conscientious Objectors in Israel, c/o Society of St Ives
email: styves@netvision.net.il
tel: +972 2 6286729 fax: +972 2 6286339

Sergei Ashin's home address is:
Sergei Ashin
HaMelech Uziyahu 9/5
Newe David
Haifa 35422
Israel

prison address:
Military Prison No 6
Atlit
Israel

alert sent out by War Resisters' International, 5 Caledonian Road,
London N1 9DX. tel: +44 171 278 4040 fax: +44 171 278 0444
email: warresisters@gn.apc.org