Court leaves political soldier Pavel Syarhei in army
13:43, — Politics
The Minsk regional court has upheld the decision on calling up an opposition activist.
The judicial board said Belarus didn't have the established legal procedure of doing alternative civilian service. The court also said the draftee's arguments on inability to serve in the army due to religious beliefs were groundless, Viasna human rights centre reports.
Pavel Syarhei is a Young Front activist, who was expelled from the polytechnic college in Maladzechna after serving a term in a detention facility.
Last year, he began to receive summonses from the military enlistment office, after he had sent an application for alternative military service because he cannot “wear military uniform for religious beliefs and serve in the army with the communist symbols (hammer and sickle), under which the Christians were prosecuted in the USSR”. A special commission in the military enlistment office found his arguments groundless and he was denied the right to alternative service.
The guy applied to the Maladzechna district court, but it found the decision of the enlistment office legal. On February 28, Pavel Syarhei's appeal was heard, but the Minsk regional court upheld the court decision.
The ruling signed by chairman of the Minsk regional court Kraiko notes that Belarus doesn't have the established order of doing alternative civilian service. Pavel Syarhei's arguments on inability to serve in the army for religious beliefs were found groundless, because they were refuted by a pastor of the evangelical church, to which Pavel belongs.
Pavel Syarhei is in the railway battalion in Slutsk.
The right to do alternative civilian service was secured in the Belarusian constitution in 1994, but a law that could regulate the procedure has not been adopted yet. The parliament may adopt it this year, according to the draft laws plan 2013.