Human Rights Center 'Viasna' demands immediate release from custody of Ivan Mikhailau and urgent adoption of Law ‘On alternative civil service’
On 1 February 2010 the Minsk District Court sentenced Ivan Mikhailau to three months of arrest for ostensible evasion from draft into the army.
Ivan Mikhailau repeatedly addressed the draft board of Minsk district with the request to give him the opportunity to perform alternative civilian service because his religious beliefs didn’t allow him to hold arms. However, instead he was first placed in a pre-trial prison within the frames of a criminal case, and then was found guilty of evasion from military service.
The civil right to alternative service ensues from Article 57 of the Constitution, which defines the protection of Fatherland as a sacred duty of a citizen. The order of performing military service and the reasons for and conditions of its replacement with alternative civilian service are determined by the law.
That’s why the Human Rights Center Viasna considers that citizens of the Republic of Belarus have a legal right to refuse from military services because of their moral convictions and demand its replacement with alternative civilian service. Criminal persecution of such conscientious objectors is a human rights violation.
The Human Rights Center Viasna demands immediate release of Ivan Mikhailau and cessation of all criminal proceedings against him.
The Human Rights Center Viasna demands from the National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus to urgently adopt a law on alternative civilian service as a mechanism to realize Article 57 of the Constitution.
Minsk, 2 February 2010.