Amnesty International took the initiative to write to Israeli Minister of Defense Shaul Mofaz for their concern on the imprisonment of Israeli conscripts and reservists who refuse to enter military service or serve in the Occupied Territories because they believe that by serving they will be taking part in human rights violation. Over 180 conscientious objectors and refuseniks were imprisoned over the last 26 months.
Many of these conscripts stood on the ground of conscience that by entering military service, they are violating human rights that the army is committing, whereas there are other conscripts who were routinely granted deferrals or exemption from military service based on religious grounds.
Draft resisters Jonathan Ben-Artzi and Uri Ya'acovi are presently serving their sixth consecutive prison sentences for refusing to serve in the Israeli army because of their conscientiously held beliefs. They have until now been sentenced to a total of 161 and 134 days respectively.
"The draft resisters and refuseniks who are and have been imprisoned as a result of their conscientious objection are prisoners of conscience. Those currently detained should be released immediately and unconditionally," said Amnesty International.
Amnesty International expressed their concern to the Israeli Minister of Defense that the objectors should be given an opportunity to present their objections to a decision making body which is established by law and is independent and impartial.
By Tony C.