03 March 2004
ISRAEL: Women COs and refusers in prison
Three women COs are presently serving prison terms in Israeli military prisons.
Inbal Gelbert (ISR13820) began her fourth term of 14 days on 29 February 2004. Inbal Gelbert already spent time in prison in November 2003 (see http://wri-irg.org/news/htdocs/21112003b.html), after her request to be exempted for reasons of conscience was turned down by the Conscience Committee. Inbal Gelbert, a pacifist, was then ordered to enlist, and refused. She was also rejected by the Incompatibility Committee. She is expected to be released on 12 March 2004.
Laura Milo (ISR14032) presented herself to the Induction Base on 23 February 2004. She was not accepted by the Conscience Committee, as she is very open about not being a pacifist. She declared: "I cannot take part in the injustices that our state carries out by means of the IDF. I am no pacifist, my refusal is prompted by the occupation… I went to Yeruham out of a sense of pioneering, with the aim of creating a new model of community and movement work. I sensed, in myself and by way of my charges, the ugliness of our society and the injustice that shapes the policy of our government … I refuse for a very personal reason, so that I can go on living in this country and feel at peace with the dictates of my conscience."
Laura was sentenced to 14 days on 23 February. She is due to be out on 8 March 2004. The officer who sentenced her told her "to prepare to be in jail for 1 year and 9 months".
Veronica Kravtzov (ISR14033) joined the Academic course of the IDF. During her studies she came around to opposing military service, and asked to see the Conscience Committee. She was turned down on the grounds that participants in the academic programme are not entitled to be pacifist. On 22 February 2004, she was sentenced to 14 days in prison 400. She is due to be out on 5 March 2004.
Two members of Courage to Refuse are also serving prison terms. Uri Fein (ISR12330) and Maor Parsai (ISR12331) were both sentenced to 21 days in Military Prison No 6 on 25 February, for refusing to serve in the Occupied Territories. They are due out on 15 March.
Both spent 28 days in prison in August 2002 (see http://wri-irg.org/news/htdocs/08082002a.html).
War Resisters' International calls for letters of protest to Israeli authorities, and Israeli embassies abroad. An email letter can be sent at http://www.wri-irg.org/co/alerts/20040303a.html.
War Resisters' International calls for the immediate release of all imprisoned conscientious objectors.
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