Person of the Week: Sergei Kholkin

posted 25 May 2015, 11:14 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 25 May 2015, 12:10 ]
On 18 May 2015, Kommersant reported that an application to the European Court of Human Rights had been filed by the Soldiers' Mothers of St Petersburg human rights organization on behalf of Sergei Kholkin, a conscript from Murmansk. The application was filed on 15 May, International Conscientious Objectors' Day. Sergei Kholkin claims that the military authorities denied his request to perform civilian service, in place of military service, a path he decided to take in September 2014. Under Russian law a person conscripted can do alternative civilian service if they can prove that their personal beliefs prohibit them from fighting. Sergei Kholkin said he had refused to do military service because of his pacifism, which developed in the light of events in eastern Ukraine. The military commission and subsequent Russian courts found that his pacifism was not sufficiently convincing. The case is the first of its kind from Russia in which the applicant alleges that a refusal to allow him to do alternative civilian service violates his rights under Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (freedom of thought, conscience and religion).

Григорий Туманов, 'Российский пацифист обратился в Евросуд с призывом,' Kommersant, 18 May 2015
'Russian conscript files claim with ECHR over alternative service - report,' RAPSI, 18 May 2015
Alec Luhn, ''Russian soldiers' captured in Ukraine to face trial on terrorism charges,' The Guardian, 18 May 2015

Photo: Soldiers' Mothers of St. Petersburg [reads: ''Alternative Civilian Service'