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Page 27, 15th May 1993

15th May 1993
Page 27
Page 27, 15th May 1993 — Polish conscientious objector sentenced. A Polish military court has imposed

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Polish conscientious objector sentenced. A Polish military court has imposed

a oneyear gaol sentence on a conscientious objector who cited his Christian faith as a reason for refusing military service.

Ryszard Baranek, from Wroclaw, had requested the right to perform a civilian alternative duty, on the grounds that his religious convictions forbade him to kill. But the Silesian military district court rejected his plea and ruled that his "moral world view" was "incompatible with the Polish state's prevailing legal order".

Polish law, which currently requires all able-bodied males to undergo 18 months' military service, permits civilian duties to be undertaken at the discretion of allmilitary recruitment commissions. But in May 1992 the Supreme Court ruled that Catholic beliefs could not justify requests for exemption. Baranek is the seventh objector to be gaoled in the past year, and the fourth from the Silesian district, where over 20 per cent of those drafted as conscripts filed opt-out requests last year.

Amnesty International has awarded "prisoner of conscience" status to another Polish objector, Roman Galuszko, who was released on 22 April after serving part of an 18-month sentence. Human rights groups have warned that over 100 others still face gaol unless recruitment procedures are reformed.