Posted by: becketfund | July 4, 2007

Turkmenistan: Two Conscientious Objectors Imprisoned

Forum 18 reports that two Jehovah’s Witnesses, Nuryagdy Gayyrov and Baryam Ashirgeldyyev, were arrested for refusing to perform military service, which is compulsory in Turkmenistan. Both men refused on the grounds that their religion forbids them from participating; however, Turkmenistan offers no alternative service for those who do not wish to join the military. Gayyrov and Ashirgeldyyev have been charged with evasion and are currently awaiting trial; they have been jailed during the pre-trial detention in Turkmenistan’s capital of Ashgabad. There are currently a total of five known persons imprisoned in Turkmenistan for religious activity, some on charges which the government has never made public.

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