Conscientious Objector Acquitted In Belarus
Dzmitry Smyk after his acquittal
May 31, 2010 The central court in the Belarusian city of Homel has acquitted a Jehovah's Witness who had been charged with avoiding mandatory military service, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.
Dzmitry Smyk said that his belief did not allow him to bear arms. Judge Alena Tsalkova ruled that "Smyk's actions do not constitute a crime."
Smyk told RFE/RL after he left the courtroom a free man that he felt happy that justice had prevailed.
The Homel prosecutor has 10 days in which to file a motion against the court's decision.
Viktar Adzinochanka, who is a lecturer at Skaryna Religious University and a representative of the Christian Association in Belarus, told RFE/RL that the Belarusian authorities recently adopted a more realistic attitude toward Jehovah's Witnesses.
In Belarus, every male between the age of 18 and 27 has to serve in the army for two years. source: http://www.rferl.org/content/Conscientious_Objector_Acquitted_In_Belarus/2058167.html