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11° Nicosia,
17 February, 2019
 
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Conscientious objector walks free

Halil Karapasaoglu’s 20-day sentence commuted by Turkish Cypriot judge after three days behind bars

Newsroom

A Turkish Cypriot conscientious objector has been released from prison after serving just three days of his 20-day sentence, after refusing to pay a fine to get out of army reserve duty.

Halil Karapasaoglu, a Turkish Cypriot army reservist, has been making headlines on both sides of the divided island for refusing to report to duty, citing his beliefs against militarism and war.

Earlier this week, a Turkish Cypriot judge sentenced Karapasaoglu to 20 days in prison after the conscientious objector refused to pay a fine for not showing up for military exercises.

An appeal was won partially on the basis that a legislative bill in the north is pending, which would address the right of an individual to refuse to perform military service

Karapasaoglu was ordered to pay a 2000 lira fine for refusing to report to duty as an army reservist for a number of years. Paying the fine meant he could have avoided jail time but his defence attorney argued his client should not have to pay a fine for his beliefs.

An appeal filed Friday was won partially on the basis that a legislative bill in the north is pending, which would address a number of issues of military service including the right of an individual to refuse to perform military service.

A broader discussion will take place on January 30, with the judge finding no basis to keep Karapasaoglu behind bars. His sentence was commuted after three days in jail.

Military service is mandatory for adult males on both sides of the island. But public debate over conscientious objectors has not been the norm over the years.

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