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Russian Federation: Prisoner of conscience / conscientious objection: Uvanchaa Dozur-ool Mongushevich

, Index number: EUR 46/034/1996

The above, a 22-year-old novice Buddhist monk at the Gelugpa Buddhist Church in St Petersburg, may face up to seven years' imprisonment as a prisoner of conscience unless the Russian authorities recognize his right to conscientiously object to military service. His trial is believed to be imminent. He is an ethnic national of the Republic of Tuva.

EXTERNAL AI Index: EUR 46/34/96
UA 184/96 Prisoner of conscience / Conscientious objection 23 July 1996
RUSSIAN FEDERATIONUvanchaa Dozur-ool Mongushevich, 22, novice at a Buddhist
Uvanchaa Dozur-ool Mongushevich, 22-year-old novice monk at the Religious
Buddhist community "Kuntsechoinei Datsan" at the Gelugpa Buddhist Church in
St Petersburg, may face up to seven years' imprisonment as a prisoner of
conscience unless the Russian authorities recognize his right to
conscientiously object to military service. His trial is believed to be
Uvanchaa Dozur-ool Mongushevich, an ethnic national of the Republic of Tuva,
was drafted into the army in 1995, despite the fact that he was preparing to
be initiated as a monk. He was sent to serve in the military unit in the village
of Pereyaslavka, Khabarovsk region. There he was allegedly ill-treated by
his fellow soldiers, and as a result of severe beatings, he was reportedly
hospitalized with both legs broken. After treatment he was taken home by his
parents. Soon afterwards he returned to the Buddhist monastery, where he was
arrested on 26 May 1996 by the military authorities. He was charged on 13
June under Article 246 of the Russian Criminal Code with "voluntary desertion
of his army unit", for which he could receive a sentence from three to seven
years' imprisonment. He is currently held in a pre-trial detention centre
(SIZO) in St Petersburg.
Uvanchaa Dozur-ool Mongushevich has reportedly stated his conscientious
objection to compulsory military service, based on his religious beliefs and
religious affiliation, all along -- when he was drafted into the army; when
he left the army unit after his alleged ill-treatment; at the time of his arrest
and during the investigation concerning his current criminal charges. His
spiritual teacher, Lama Djampa Donyod Badmaev, has received a letter dated
28 June from the Office of the Chief Military Procurator of the Russian
Federation, which acknowledged the fact that Uvanchaa Dozur-ool Mongushevich
has stated his objection based on his religious beliefs.
Military service is currently compulsory in Russia for men aged between 18
and 27. There is no law on a civilian alternative to military service, which
places any conscientious objector under the threat of imprisonment.
Conscientious objection to military service is recognized by the United Nations
Commission on Human Rights (Resolution 1989/59, and reaffirmed in Resolution
1993/84 of 10 March 1993) as a legitimate exercise of the right to freedom
of thought, conscience and religion, a right guaranteed under Article 18 of
the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
This right is also recognized in the Russian Constitution, where it has been
enshrined in since April 1992. Article 59 states "A citizen of the Russian
Federation whose convictions or faith preclude the performance of military
service...has the right to substitute it for an alternative civilian service".
However, four years on parliament has still not introduced the necessary
enabling legislation, or amended the Criminal Code to reflect this
constitutional provision, and young men continue to risk imprisonment for
refusing military service on conscientious grounds. An attempt on 8 December
1995 to pass a law on alternative service resulted in the majority of deputies
in the State Duma voting against it. However, a law could be implemented by
Presidential decree. The accession of Russia to the Council of Europe in February
1996 means that Russia should be working towards that body's Recommendation
No. R (87)8 Regarding Conscientious Objection to Compulsory Military Service.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express/airmail
letters in Russian or your own language:
- calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Uvanchaa Dozur-ool
Mongushevich as a prisoner of conscience, detained for refusing to serve in
the army on the grounds of his non-violent religious and conscientious beliefs;
- urging that the constitutional right to conscientious objection should be
realized by enacting legislation creating alternative civilian service of
non-punitive length. Reminding the President that in the absence of a law,
the right to alternative military service could be introduced through a
Presidential decree.
Chief Military Procurator of the Russian Federation Valentin PANICHEV
Rossiyskaya Federatsiya
103760 g. Moskva K-31
Kuznetsky most, 13
Prokuratura Rossiyskoy Federatsii
Glavnomu voyennomu prokuroru
Telegrams: Chief Military Procurator, Moscow, Russia
Salutation: Dear Chief Military Procurator
Military Procurator of St. Petersburg Garrison
Rossiyskaya Federatsiya
191 194, S. Peterburg,
ul. "Shpalernaya", d.24
voyennomu prokuroru
Sankt-Peterburgskogo Garnizona
Telegrams: Rossiya, Sankt-Peterburg, Voenny Prokuror, Sankt-Peterburgskogo
Salutation: Dear Military Procurator
Minister of Defence, Col.Gen. Igor Rodionov
Rossiyskaya Federatsiya
103175 Moskva
ul. Myasnitskaya, 37
Ministerstvo oborony
Ministru GRACHEVU P.S.
Telegrams: Rossiya, 103175 Moskva, Ministru oborony
Faxes: (7095) 296 08 64
Salutation: Dear Minister
President of the Russian Federation, Yeltsin, Boris Nikolayevich
Rossiyskaya Federatsiya
g. Moskva
Presidentu Rossiyskoy Federatsii Yeltsinu B.N.
Faxes: (7095) 206 5173
Telegrams: President Yeltsin, Moscow, Russia
Salutation: Dear President
Procurator General of the Russian Federation, Yuriy Skuratov
Rossiyskaya Federatsiya
103793 g.Moskva K-31
ul. Dimitrovka, 15a
Prokuratura Rossiyskoy Federatsii
Generalnogo prokurora Skuratovu Yu.
Faxes: (7095) 925 1879; (7095) 292 88 48
Chairman of the Security Council of the Russian Federation
Aleksandr Ivanovich LEBED
Rossiyskaya Federatsiya
g. Moskva
administratsiya Presidenta Rossiyskoy Federatsii
Predsedatelyu Soveta bezopasnosti
and to diplomatic representatives of Russian Federation accredited to your
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 15 September 1996.

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