FINLAND: Total objector Daniel Koponen starts prison sentence


Finnish total objector Daniel Koponen, a 21-years old student from Espoo, started to serve his prison sentence on Thursday, 16 December 2004. He will spent 197 days behind bars.

Koponen announced his refusal to the authorities in December 2003 and was sentenced to prison on 21 September 2004. The main reason for his objection is the fact that right for conscientious objection is recognised in Finland only during peace time. "This means that the civilian service is essentially connected to the Finnish military defence system", he stated in his announcement of refusal. The punitive lenght of civilian service has also influenced his decision to refuse.

The UN´s Human Rights Committee critised Finnish CO legislation in November. However, at the moment it is not yet sure if the Finnish cabinet is going to propose any improvements for the CO legislation in near future.

War Resisters' International calls for letters of support to Daniel Koponen: Daniel Koponen
Helsingin työsiirtola
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 . A list of Finnish embassies can be found at .

Andreas Speck
War Resisters' International