Posted by: becketfund | June 28, 2010

Belarus: Courts Give Different Rulings for Conscientious Objectors

GOMEL – Courts have issued differing sentences with regards to three conscientious objectors to compulsory military service sentenced under the Criminal Code in 2009, Forum 18 reported on June 28.  Messianic Jew Ivan Mikhailov was found guilty and imprisoned, but was freed days before the end of his three-month sentence.  He was acquitted on retrial and the prosecutor’s appeal was rejected.  Jehovah’s Witness Dmitry Smyk, initially fined, was acquitted on retrial, but the prosecutor’s appeal is due to be heard on July 16. Non-religious objector Yevhen Yakovenko, sentenced on June 4 to one year’s restricted freedom, told Forum 18 he has appealed against the sentence. All three say they would do an alternative civilian service.   

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