Sentencing of total objector Erno Pennanen, imprisonment of Henrik Rosenberg
Use this form to send the letter below to the relevant authority (Matti Vanhanen, Prime Minister of the Republic of Finland). You can add your own notes in a separate box after the standard text, if you wish. You must include a name, address, and email address; a copy will be sent to you with a cc to the WRI office (so we have a record of how many email letters have been sent out for this particular case).
Dear Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen
I am very concerned about the sentencing of conscientious objectors in Finland. I learned today that total objector Erno Pennanen received an unconditional prison sentence of 197 days in prison. Another total objector, a young man from Kerava, was sentenced to 181 days in prison. And total objector Henrik Rosenberg began serving his prison sentence from last June on 20 March.
Both the extended substitute service time and economical discrimination of COs are clearly in breach of UN resolutions and the 1987 Council of Europe recommendation regarding CO. To imprison total objectors solely due to their belief could also be said to be against the UN Declaration on Human Rights, which declares that all states should prevent the judicial system from forcing people to change their conviction.
The UN Human Rights Committee demanded from Finland in its session on 5 November 2004 to shorten the substitute service and to recognise the right to conscientious objection in times of war. It is therefore a pity, that the Cabinet decided in June not to shorten the substitute service within the duration of this parliament.
I therefore urge you to immediately release all imprisoned conscientious objectors, and to follow the UN recommendations. I urge you to respect human rights.