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Clara Immerwahr Award goes to Osman Murat Ülke

German affiliate of IPPNW

This year´s Clara Immerwahr Award will be given to Osman Murat Ülke who has consistently defended his right to conscientious objection in Turkey. Because of this he has faced extreme personal disadvantages over many years. On March 3, 2007, the German affiliate of IPPNW (International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War) will present the award to Coskus Üsterci, Ülke´s representative, in the Georges Casalis Room of the Französische Friedrichsstadt Church in Berlin. Ülke himself has not been allowed to leave Turkey for several years.

After some years of preparing himself for this step, Ülke publicly declared his conscientious objection in 1995 and burned his service record. Since the right to conscientious objection does not exist in Turkey, Ülke has been arrested several times for refusal to obey orders and for desertion. Following each release, Ülke was told again to carry out his military service. When he again did not appear for military service, he used the subsequent military court proceedings as well as his convictions to draw the public´s attention to the Turkish government´s handling of conscientious objectors.Ülke has been detained for 701 days altogether. In 2006, the European Court of Human Rights found the Turkish government to have used disproportional punishment in the Ülke’s case. So far there have been no consequences: Even today Ülke is considered to be a deserter and could be arrested any time. The 36-year-old family father cannot apply for a passport, open a bank account or accept a job as long as he is a conscientious objector.

IPPNW has presented the Clara Immerwahr Award since 1991 to people who have stood up against war, armament and for human rights despite personal disadvantage. Last time it was awarded to Christa Lörcher in 2001 who was the only SPD member of Parliament to vote against the deployment of German soldiers to Afghanistan. As a consequence, she had to leave the SPD parliamentary party. The award is named after the chemist Clara Immerwahr who fought - with much personal commitment - the work of her husband, Fritz Haber, who advanced the development and use of poison gas in World War I.

For further information, an interview with Mr Ülke or requests for pictures, please contact:
Sven Hessmann, Press Relations Officer,
Tel.: 030 - 69 80 74 14

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