Turkish Cypriot conscientious objector Halil Karapasaoglu is heading to prison to serve his sentence, after refusing to pay a fine to get out of army reserve duty.
Karapasaoglu, a Turkish Cypriot army reservist, made headlines last month for refusing to report to duty, citing his beliefs against militarism and war.
The 33-year-old man was reportedly in the living room of his home when Turkish Cypriot police officers came to arrest him, according to Cyprus News Agency (CNA). He had taken a college exam earlier that morning, according to media reports.
“I won’t resist, come on in,” Karapasaoglu said.
If Karapasaoglu paid the fine, he could avoid jail time, which will reportedly be as many as 20 days behind bars
A Turkish Cypriot judge ordered Halil to pay a 2000 lira fine for refusing to report to duty as an army reservist for a number of years. If Karapasaoglu paid the fine, he could avoid jail time, which will reportedly be as many as 20 days behind bars.
Karapasaoglu had previously said he would not pay the fine because he “didn’t do anything wrong” and he believed he had an inalienable right to be a conscientious objector.
“Our grandfathers and fathers fought each other before, we are not going to make the same mistake,” Karapasaoglu was quoted as saying recently.
On Tuesday, Halil was set to undergo a medical exam prior to being booked into jail. Reports in the north said he plans to appeal the prison sentence while still refusing to pay the fine.
Military service is mandatory for adult males on both sides of the divided island. But public debate over conscientious objectors has not been the norm over the years.
In the south, Republic of Cyprus defence ministry officials are kickstarting a number of reforms to make reservist duty less difficult for adult males, such as providing more flexible hours during exercise drills.