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Conscientious objector Nathan Blanc wins freedom, ending repeated sentencing

12:00 May 30 2013 an Israeli court, location unspecified

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Protester with photo of Nathan Blanc at recent demonstration in Tel Aviv
Photo: T. Applebaum

The IDF unsuitability committee decided to exempt Blanc from service, making his 10th consecutive incarceration in military prison his last. (photo: Activestills)

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by Ira Glunts on May 30, 2013 for Mondoweiss

Nathan Blanc, the young imprisoned Israeli conscientious objector, was informed this morning (Thursday) that he will be freed and that the IDF will declare him “unsuitable for military service.” This according to the Israeli daily, Ha’aretz (Hebrew). It should be noted that Annie Robbins reported on Blanc a couple of months ago

Blanc will be released next Thursday at the end of his current sentence. Thus will end an ordeal in which Blanc will have served 177 days in prison on 10 separate occasions.

The 20-year-old refuser declined a psychiatric exemption, which was available to him, rather he insisted that he be allowed to do alternative non-military service.

Protests in support of Blanc have increased recently. Last Tuesday dozens of activists demonstrated in front of the government offices in Tel Aviv demanding his release. A few days prior to the protest, a group of academics wrote a letter to the head attorney of the army, Danny Ephroni, requesting Blanc be freed because his punishment had been excessive. Also, Eitan Klinsky in an editorial posted on News 1 called for Blanc's release. He wrote that the repeated prison sentence that were given Blanc violate the legal principle that you do not try someone more than once for the same crime.

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ByHaggai Matar for 972Mag

Conscientious objector Natan Blanc will be exempted from military service and allowed to volunteer for civil service after more than half a year in prison. Shortly after Blanc’s family and supporters started a campaign for his release, which included several demonstrations and increased media presence, Blanc was summoned earlier this week to the army’s unsuitability committee for the second time.

As opposed to the previous interview, this time the committee decided to exempt Blanc from service, and on Thursday morning he was informed by prison staff that his current, 10th incarceration (breaking the record for number of times a conscientious objector has been sentenced) will be his last. Blanc had repeatedly demanded conscientious objector status, but was repeatedly denied as his refusal to join the army is based on opposition to Israeli occupation policies rather than all use of violence.

The ‘unsuitability’ clause is often used by the army to exempt occupation refusers after several rounds of imprisonment, as in the case of Blanc (and myself). Blanc, however, was the first Israeli to sit in prison 10 times before being released.

To read Blanc’s statement on his refusal see News Source Link.
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