(RNS) — A United Nations committee is calling for the immediate release of an 18-year-old Jehovah’s Witness the panel says is being unlawfully detained in Tajikistan because of his faith.

The U.N.’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention says Daniil Islamov is imprisoned in Tajikistan for conscientiously objecting to the country’s mandatory military service. Though Jehovah’s Witnesses pay taxes, Islamov’s faith precludes him from reciting patriotic pledges, singing nationalistic songs or joining the military.

The right of Jehovah’s Witnesses to adhere to their faith’s rejection of military service — they believe their allegiance is to God alone — is recognized in the U.S. and

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