Zafar Abdullaev, a 24-year-old Jehovah's Witness conscientious objector, is the latest to be handed a prison sentence for refusing Turkmenistan's military service, which is compulsory for all young men. He was given the maximum two-year prison term on 6 March at Dashoguz City Court, the court chancellery told Forum 18 News Service. He had already served a two-year suspended sentence on the same charges. Four other Jehovah's Witness conscientious objectors are serving prison sentences, while a sixth is serving a suspended sentence. Abdullaev's imprisonment came the same month that the United Nations Human Rights Committee called on Turkmenistan to free imprisoned conscientious objectors, end their prosecution and introduce an alternative service. It also called for an end to restrictions on unregistered religious activity, religious education and the import of religious literature.
Read the original article at Forum 18 News Service 2012-04-19 »
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