GERMANY: Total objector Jonas Grote in military arrest


Since 23 May 2007, German total objector Jonas Grote (DE14923) is in military arrest at the Otto-Lilienthal barracks in Roth. Jonas Grote had been called up for military service for 1 April 2007, but as a total objector he refuses both, military and substitute civilian service. On 15 May - International Conscientious Objectors' Day - Jonas Grote presented himself during a nonviolent action at military barracks in Karlsruhe. From there he was taken to Roth, where he refused to perform military service.
The commander of the barracks then applied for an arrest of 21 days, which has been granted. Jonas Grote announced a hunger strike in response to his arrest. The military doctors of the barracks then threatened him with transfer to a closed psychiatric hospital and forced feeding.

It is general practice of the German military to keep total objectors in at least three consecutive arrests of 21 days, before banning them from service, and handing the case to the civilian criminal justice system. Total objectors then face charges of "desertion", which in theory can lead to imprisonment of up to five years. However, in practice sentences are much lower, and range from fines to suspended sentences of a few month of imprisonment. Non-suspended sentences have been rare in recent years.

According to German law, military arrest is only legal when there is a chance that the person concerned might change his mind. In cases of total objection, this has never happened.

War Resisters' International calls for letters of support to Jonas Grote
Jonas Grote, Heeresfliegerstaffel 269, Otto-Lilienthal-Kaserne, 91154 Roth

War Resisters' International calls for letters of protest to the German Minister of Defense, Franz Josef Jung, or German embassies abroad. An email letter can be sent at

War Resisters' International calls for the immediate release of Jonas Grote, and all imprisoned conscientious objectors.

Andreas Speck
War Resisters' International
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