Conscientious objector Jonas Grote
Use this form to send the letter below to the relevant authority (Minister of Defense Franz Josef Jung). 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 Minister Franz Josef Jung
I am very concerned about the second military arrest of conscientious objector Jonas Grote, sentenced to a second military arrest of 21 days on 13 June 2007, although there is no hope that this arrest will lead to a change of mind.
Jonas Grote announced his total objection to military and substitute civilian service several times before his call-up for 1 April 2007. He refused to attend the medical examination for military service, and was brought there by police. He maintained his position of non-cooperation with military authorities for reasons of conscience.
The right to conscientious objection is enshrined in Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Any substitute civilian service has to be non-punitive, and needs to be compatible with the reasons for the conscientious objection. In the case of Jonas Grote, who refuses any service which is the result of a conscription system, such a service does not exist. Still, his conscience is protected under Article 18 of the ICCPR and Art 4 of the German constitution.
It has to be feared that Jonas Grote faces three consecutive arrests of 21 days each, before his case will be handed to the civilian criminal justice system. Military arrest is therefore used to attempt to break Jonas Grote's convictions, in clear violation of international and national legal standards.
In 2000, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention issued Recommondation 2 on the detention of conscientious objectors. The Working Group noted that "repeated incarceration in cases of conscientious objectors is directed towards changing their conviction and opinion, under threat of penalty. The Working Group considers that this is incompatible with article 18, paragraph 2, of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, under which no one shall be subject to coercion which would impair his freedom to have or adopt a belief of his choice." It calls for measures "to prevent the judicial system from being used to force conscientious objectors to change their convictions" (E/CN.4/2001/14, chap. IV, sect. B).
I call on you to respect the right to conscientious objection, and to immediately release Jonas Grote.