SWITZERLAND: CO Marino Keckeis ended hunger strike after six weeks


On Easter Sunday Marino ended his hunger strike after six weeks. He is healthwise in a reasonable state, morally though, very disappointed because the heads of state refused to answer his simple question: " Why he and other men have to serve prison sentences althouh they are willing to do civilian service?" He had personally written to three ministers, who didn't even bother to answer directly, but let their secretaries compile an answer. In stating that they "could not publicly comment on Marino's situation for fear of interfering with other's ( e.g. the Court's ) responsibillities", they have actually, in Marino's eyes, confirmed that they are aware of the injustice performed. Marino continues his sentence in prison knowing, that at least, he was able to create widespread public awarness of the unacceptable conditions concerning civilian service.

The campaign of the Swiss "Armee Ade - Beratungsstelle für Militärverweigerung und Zivildienst", called “Freedom of Conscience – Civilian Service not Prison” is in it’s last week of street work: on Saturday they will be collecting signatures and distributing flyers for the last time in the major Swiss towns. This action has up till now resulted in at least 15’000 signatures for the petition to the Swiss parliament, demanding the abolishment of examination of moral grounds, which still barrs the access to an ethical service for many young men. Their political lobbying will continue according to their resources.

The "Armee Ade - Beratungsstelle für Militärverweigerung und Zivildienst" says "Thanks!" to all who have helped pressure the authorities – results are already visible: They are seriosly debating changes, but still need to be pressured so as not to succumb to conservative opposition. Thanks also for encouraging Marino and his family; they say it is a genuine help through their hard time.

More information is available from:
Armee Ade - Beratungsstelle für Militärverweigerung und Zivildienst Stationsstrasse 32, Postfach 9777, 8036 Zürich; SWITZERLAND
Phone +41-1/450 37 37, Fax +41-1/450 41 46 E-Mail beratungsstelle@zivildienst.ch; http://www.zivildienst.ch

Andreas Speck
War Resisters' International