Jail terms for Israeli pacifists

Five young Israelis have been sentenced to a year in prison for refusing to serve in the occupied Palestinian territories.

    The five objected to serving in the West Bank and Gaza

    The jail terms were handed down by a military tribunal on Sunday. 

    The five, all aged around 20, had already been convicted on 16 December of insubordination after a court martial in Jaffa, near Tel Aviv, rejected their argument that they objected to serving on grounds of conscience and ruled that their motives were political.

    Matan Kaminer, Noam Bahat, Shimri Tsameret, Adam Maor and Hagai Matar have already served 13 months on remand, but they will now have to serve a further 12 months behind bars.

    "We did not expect anything else from the tribunal of an army which occupies and oppresses a whole people and from a regime which has forgotten the meaning of democracy"

    Hagai Matar,
    Israeli conscientious objector 

    "We did not expect anything else from the tribunal of an army which occupies and oppresses a whole people and from a regime which has forgotten the meaning of democracy," Matar told AFP.

    The five have been given until Wednesday to report to a military prison in northern Israel where they will serve their sentence.

    Matar had earlier accused the Israeli army in a letter to Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz of being "an instrument of violence which violates human rights and international conventions."

    All Israeli men aged over 18 have to serve three years national service.

    SOURCE: AFP


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