FINLAND: Total objector Matti Petteri Pöntiö went to prison on 11 November


Finnish total objector Matti Petteri Pöntiö went to prison on 11 November. Pöntiö broke off his substitute service on 17 April 2008 after about 8 months of service. Loviisa District Court sentenced him to 56 days imprisonment on 26 August 2008. Yesterday, he started to serve this sentence.

In April, Pöntiö stated in his declaration of refusal: ”I refuse to continue my substitutory service from this day on. I see the Finnish substitute service system as a forced, punitive extension of the compelled militarist duty, which is upheld by means which hurt basic human rights. Even this ostensible compromising alternative gives no freedom of opinion for my pacifist world view. I consider the so called total objection as an only option for my conscience although it might be against our traditional national way to act and although I will probably be punished by prison sentence because of it. I regret that I did not make this decision already in the beginning of my substitute service. My humanitarian duty is to criticise those social institutions and cultural phenomenon which work against humanity, not to accept them.

Matti Petteri Pöntiö will be released from prison on 6 January 2009.

War Resisters' International calls for letters of support to Matti Petteri Pöntiö:

Matti Petteri Pöntiö

Helsingin avovankila

Vantaan osasto

PL 36, 01531 Vantaa


War Resisters' International calls for letters of protest to Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen, or Finnish embassies abroad. A protest email can be sent at /co/alerts/20081112a.html.
A list of Finnish embassies can be found at

War Resisters' International calls for the immediate release of Matti Petteri Pöntiö and all other imprisoned conscientious objectors.

Andreas Speck

War Resisters' International