Minsk Region Court upholds drafting of Pavel Siarhei
The panel of judges
referred to the absence of laws on alternative civilian service and
the groundlessness of the draftee's statements that he couldn't serve
in the army because of his religious views.
Pavel Siarhei is an activist of the "Young Front", expelled from Maladzechna Polytechnic College after serving an arrest term in the delinquents' isolation center in Akrestsin Street. Last year he started receiving summons from the military enlistment office. He filed there a petition to be assigned to alternative civilian service, in which he also stated that he couldn't serve in the army among Communist symbols (hammer and sickle), under which Christians were persecuted during the Soviet rule. However, the special commission at the military enlistment office considered this demand as groundless and refused to assign him to alternative service.
The youngster applied to Maladzechna District Court, which upheld the ruling of the military enlistment office. On 28 February Minsk Region Court considered Siarhei's appeal against the verdict of Maladechna District Court and left it unchanged. In the conclusion signed by the head of Minsk Region Court U. Kraiko it is stated that there are no laws in Belarus which would describe the legal order of alternative civilian service. Pavel Siarhei's arguments that he cannot serve in the army for religious reasons were found groundless, as far as they were disproved by the testimony of the pastor of the church whose parishioner Mr. Siarhei was.
At present Pavel Siarhei is serving in a railway unit in Slutsk.
Bear in mind that the right to alternative civilian service was introduced by the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus back in 1994. However, no special law has been adopted so far to regulate it. Belarusian MPs may adopt it this year, as an appropriate norm stands in the schedule of draft laws for 2013.