Conscientious objection to military service: Mammadov

In Mushfig Mammadov and Others v Azerbaijan [2019] ECHR Application No 14604/08 [in French], the five applicants were Jehovah’s Witnesses. They told their local military recruitment offices that they wanted to be exempted from compulsory service on grounds of conscience and, in the case of most of them, to perform alternative civilian service instead. They were all prosecuted under Article 321.1 of the Penal Code and sentenced to imprisonment and their appeals were dismissed. Mr Mammadov was prosecuted twice.

Relying on Article 9 (conscience, thought and religion), they complained before the European Court of Human rights about their convictions for having refused to serve in the army. Mr Mammmadov also argued that his second conviction was in breach of Article 4 of Protocol No 7 (right not to be tried or punished twice). Continue reading