Finland: Total objector Otto Absetz imprisoned

by War Resisters International

(01.09.2016) Finnish total objector Otto Absetz began a sentence of 99 days imprisonment on Tuesday, 30th August. Otto's refusal is based on the fact the current Finnish legislation on conscription is discriminating and puts people to different position on basis of their sex and religion.

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Background

Otto Absetz was sentenced to ”home detention” for 173 days already in March 2014. He was charged for "refusal of civilian service" (siviilipalveluksesta kieltäytyminen) and sentenced by Eastern Uusimaa district court (Itä-Uudenmaan käräjäoikeus). He started to serve his sentence in August 2014.

However, the implementation of the sentence was interrupted by the prison authorities in November 2014 because he had ”breached the conditions of home detention”. A new trial was held and Otto was sentenced to serve the undone part of the sentence (99 days) in prison, which he began on 30th August.

Otto's refusal is based on the fact that the current Finnish legislation on conscription is discriminatory, and treats people differently, according to their sex and religion. "This is in contradiction with Finland's own constitution, with the In­ter­na­ti­onal Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and with the European Covenant on Human Rights”, he said. He also said that he opposes militarism in all it's forms, and regards the length of substitute service as punitive.

Repeatedly, and most recently in 2013, the United Nation's Human Rights Committee has criticised Finland's substitute to military service, which is twice the basic length of military service, and therefore punitive. In its concluding observations of July 2013 the committee urged Finland to extend the privileges granted to Jehovah's Witnesses to other conscientious objectors. So far Finnish government has done nothing to solve these problems. Approximately 50 total objectors will be sentenced to prison or home detention this year.

War Resisters' International: eMail, September 1, 2016

Keywords:    ⇒ Conscientious Objection   ⇒ Finland   ⇒ Prosecution