SWITZERLAND: CO Marino Keckeis in sixth week of hunger strike
Swiss conscientious objector Marino Keckeis is now in the sixth week of his hunger strike. Marino Keckeis began his hunger strike on 20 February, demanding civilian service instead of prison. Marino Keckeis declared his conscientious objection in March 1996, and applied for civilian service on February 1997. However, his application was turned down, and he was called up for military service in February 1999. He didn't follow his call-up, and was subsequently sentenced to five months imprisonment on 18 December 2001. On 15 January 2002, Marino Keckeis started his prison sentence in Luzern. Although Switzerland passed a law on conscientious objection in a referendum in 1992, this law limits the freedom of conscience seriously. Not only is civilian service considerably longer than military service, also the accepted reasons for conscientious objection are limited. In practice, many conscientious objectors don't apply for CO status, but find another way out - often with psychological help. Of those who apply, about 8 out of 10 are accepted - Marino Keckeis is one of those whose applications were turned down. His conditions of confinement have been succesivly harshened, increasingly ignoring basic human rights with the excuse that he may become a security threat... His window has been hermetically sealed, contact to other prisoners refused, post is opened and held back including that from his lawyer, the right to receive visits has been restricted to total 5 hours per month and the prison decides who is at all allowed in; ie: no representatives of organisations including churches, no press and no close friends that are considered a 'threat'. These reactions are (stated by the prison director) also an attempt to prevent publicity.
War Resisters' International calls for letters of support to Marino Keckeis - now more important than ever. M.Keckeis
Please send copies of your letters to:
Armee Ade - Beratungsstelle für Militärverweigerung und Zivildienst Stationsstrasse 32, Postfach 9777, 8036 Zürich, Switzerland email: firstname.lastname@example.org
War Resisters' International calls for letters of protest to the Swiss authorities, and Swiss embassies abroad, demanding respect for human rights, and the release of CO Marino Keckeis. Letters are especially important to the prison commander: Hans-Rudolf Schwarz
War Resisters' International calls for the immediate release of Marino Keckeis and all imprisoned conscientious objectors.
War Resisters' International