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Conscientious Objectors In Kyrgyzstan Allowed To Avoid Military Service

BISHKEK -- Conscientious objectors -- individuals who refuse to serve in the military on the basis of their religious beliefs -- will be allowed to avoid conscription in Kyrgyzstan under newly signed legislation.

Kyrgyzstan's presidential press service said on August 11 that President Almazbek Atambaev signed amendments into the law on Military Duties For Kyrgyz Citizens.

According to the amendments, Kyrgyz citizens must be members of an officially registered religious group that rejects military service in order to qualify for conscientious objector status and avoid the country's mandatory military service.

The amendments require conscientious objectors to pay a fee of 18,000 to 20,000 soms -- or about $285 to $300.

Kyrgyzstan's parliament had debated the amendments for several years after some individuals claimed that they could not serve in the army due to their religious views.

Before the amendments, all Kyrgyz men were obliged to serve in the military for one year at the age of 18.