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Free the Prisoners of Conscience!
The State of Israel has been consistently abusing a group of young men who have refused to be conscripted on grounds of conscience. While religion continues to be a reason for exempting young men from army or national service, con-scientious objection is considered a serious crime. Despite the fact that these objectors have an-nounced their willingness to serve the state through some kind of civil service, the military, led by Menachem Finkelshtein the head military prosecutor, is punishing these young men again and again for the same "offence."
It seems that there is no limit to the abuse: eleven young men have been sitting in jail for terms that just keep getting longer, and there is no end in sight. Finkelshtein wants to try them over and over again, until they break or give in. As far as he is concerned, these men can rot in jail forever. Finkelshtein has also created a committee of "experts" whose job it is to determine that not one of the young men is a "true" conscientious objec-tor; every single one, the committee proclaimed, is lying and thus deserves to sit in jail.
These prisoners of conscience refuse to serve in an army that systematically violates the human rights of the Palestinian people. Yoni Ben-Artzi, the most veteran prisoner, has sat in jail for almost 200 days. By contrast, the soldier who killed a 95-year-old Palestinian woman was sentenced to 35 days in prison.
Names of the prisoners days in jail
Yoni Ben-Artzi 196 days
Dror Boymel 166 days
Uri Ya'acobi 134 days
Haggai Matar 112 days
Yoni Yekhezkel 111 days
Matan Kaminer 84 days
Hillel Goral 70 days
Noam Bahat 70 days
Adam Maor 70 days
Shimri Tzameret 38 days
Avshalom Ben-Zvi 21 days
We, the undersigned, demand an end to this abuse and the immediate release of these prisoners of conscience.