(WRI Letter of Support for Bojan Aleksov, printed on WRI letterhead)

22 August 2000

To Whom It May Concern,

The War Resisters International is deeply concerned about Bojan Aleksov and the terrible treatment he received at the hands of the State Security Police in Belgrade on the 7th and 8th of July.

War Resisters International is a global network of more than 70 pacifist groups in 30 countries. Originally founded in 1921, WRI is based on the declaration that begins "War is a crime against humanity." Bojan Aleksov agrees with and acts on this belief, and as a result was the victim of crimes against his humanity which were committed by agents of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Bojan is now in Germany and appealing for political asylum. War Resisters International urges that he be granted political asylum.

War Resisters International has been aware of Bojan s courageous work for peace in former Yugoslavia since 1991. Bojan was already active in the Centre for Anti-War Action when WRI staffperson Howard Clark met him in Belgrade in December 1991. Many War Resisters International members met Bojan when he attended the ICOM (International Conscientious Objectors Movement) meeting in Southern France in 1992, and at ICOM meetings in Turkey (1993) and Colombia (1994), and the European Conscientious Objectors Movement meeting in Greece (1995). We are well aware of the valuable work Bojan has done in Budapest for the past two years with the Safe House Project helping deserters and conscientious objectors from Serbia who fled to Hungary. Since 1992 Bojan Aleksov has been the most important source of information on the situation regarding conscription and conscientious objection in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Most significantly, Bojan has helped provide legal assistance and other form of support to those who refused to kill and participate in wars in former Yugoslavia.

Bojan played a vital role in organizing a War Resisters International speaking tour by Greg Payton, U.S. veteran of the Vietnam War active who visited Serbia in September 1992. Bojan served as his interpreter and road manager.

We are familiar with Bojan s eight years of work with the anti-militarist group Women in Black, which is an Associate of War Resisters International. Bojan attended the War Resisters International Triennial Conference in Brazil in December 1994. There he spoke of the work he was involved in with peace groups as well as Women in Black.

Bojan told of his work with a refugee project which combined humanitarian aid with reconciliation efforts. Bojan was also a speaker at War Resisters International Seminar "The Changing Face of the Military" held in Germany in August 1999. War Resisters International values the work that Bojan has been engaged in, and his presence at WRI conferences has been an opportunity for him to work with others who share his desire for a peaceful and democratic solution of conflicts in former Yugoslavia. Bojan sees being public about the situation in former Yugoslavia as a moral duty, and it has put his life in danger.

War Resisters International strongly support Bojan Aleksov s application for political asylum in Germany. We are deeply concerned that if he is forced to return to Serbia he would again be tortured and his human rights violated for his political views and activities. Bojan has always been very open and public about the work he does. He was able to escape the kidnapping and torture he was subjected to by the Milosevic regime, and has been open about what happened to him. This puts his life at risk. He should not be forced to return to certain abuse. We urge you to support his appeal for political asylum.

Joanne P. Sheehan
Chair, War Resisters International