Dushanbe, October 20, Interfax - A conscript belonging to the Jehovah's Witnesses, which are banned in Tajikistan, has been sentenced to six months of imprisonment in the country's south for refusing to wear an army uniform.
The local media reported on Thursday citing a source at the Khatlon Region's military court that 18-year-old Daniil Islomov was sentenced under the article concerning 'Evasion of military service by a serviceman through causing bodily damage or simulating sickness or other deception.'
It is reported that Islomov, who calls himself a Jehovah 's Witness, was called up for army service from Dushanbe last April.
"At the conscription center the young man already declared that wearing a military uniform contradicted his religious beliefs. He was ready for alternative civilian service but was refused. Daniil was sent to serve at an army unit in Kurgan-Tyube," the report said.
Previously, Khatlon military court judge Alisher Rafikzoda, speaking to the Tajik service of Radio Liberty said that Islomov did once put on a military uniform a single time because "wearing a military uniform allegedly contradicts his religious beliefs."
"During the investigation, Daniil was not detained and remained in the grounds of his army unit. After the sentence was handed down last week, the young man was taken to a high security penitentiary in Kurgan-Tyube," the judge said.
Islomov's family intends to protest the sentence.
Jehovah's Witnesses fully ban involvement in any hostilities, whether a war is of aggressive or defensive nature. Correspondingly, military service in any form is unacceptable for them, and the adepts of the religious movement cannot wear military uniforms or take up arms.
According to Office of Civil Liberties head Dilrabo Samadova, alternative civilian service is a special form of work done by conscripts instead of army service. However, Tajikistan does not have such a law even though last spring a special working group of the Defense Ministry drafted a bill on alternative service and submitted it to the government.
Tajikistan banned the Jehovah's Witnesses in its territory in autumn 2007. The authorities announced that members of the movement regularly violated provisions of the law on religion and religious organizations.