EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: EUR 17/12/93
18 November 1993
Further information on EXTRA 87/93 (EUR 17/10/93, 8 October 1993) - and
follow-up: EUR 17/11/93, 21 October 1993 - Legal Concern/Prisoner of Conscience
NORTHERN CYPRUS:Salih Askero_ul
Martin Hantke (German)
Andreas Rabl (Austrian)
On 12 November 1993, Salih Askero_ul was sentenced by a military court in Lefko_a
to a total of three years and three months' imprisonment. He was sentenced
to three months for failure to enlist when being called up and to three years
for "making propaganda against the security forces" in his press statement
of 24 September explaining his grounds for conscientious objection to military
service. Salih Askero_ul was also convicted on charges of "inciting to refuse
military service" and "insulting the security forces" by his press statement.
However, these two charges were considered to be subsidiary to the "propaganda"
charge and therefore did not carry additional sentences. Salih Askero_ul is
appealing against the convictions on the three latter charges to the
constitutional court of Northern Cyprus on the grounds that they violate his
right to freedom of expression.
Salih Askero_ul continues to be held in Lefko_a Prison. As he neither used
nor advocated violence, he is considered to be a prisoner of conscience. His
partner Yiota Nikolaou and their baby daughter Melissa who were expelled from
Northern Cyprus to the south are still not allowed any contact either by visits
or by telephone.
Salih Askero_ul's supporters Martin Hantke and Andreas Rabl had been detained
on 18 October, together with the photographer Ahmet Serdar Gökasan, while
distributing leaflets about the case. They were all released on bail on 27
FURTHER RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/faxes/express and airmail
letters in English or your own language:
- expressing regret that Salih Askero_ul was sentenced to three years and three
months' imprisonment for stating his peaceful beliefs and refusing to perform
military service on grounds of conscience;
- calling for his immediate and unconditional release as a prisoner of
- expressing the hope that the Court of Appeal will quash the verdict;
- urging that the right to conscientious objection to military service be
recognized in Northern Cyprus and that an alternative civilian service be
- appealing that while Salih Askero_ul is still imprisoned his partner and
child may be allowed contact by visits and telephone.