FINLAND: Total objector Antti Rautiainen was arrested.


22 years old total objector Antti Rautiainen (from Helsinki, Finland) started to serve his 59-days sentence at prison of Katajanokka, Helsinki on the 17th of July 2001. Imprisonment was the result of fines, which Rautiainen got because he refused to go to enrolment for military service and because he joined in five different demonstrations and civil disobedience-happenings during 1997-1999. Now it seems that he has to face a long sentence round ahead, because the present legislation can't stop judging total objectors over and over again in every situation.

Rautiainen is a total objector who doesn't want to attend even an enrolment for military service. That is the most consistent way to protest against military system, because those are occasions where people's obligation to serve for military system is ordered - and where they also could specify conscientious objectors' use in different tasks during the possible war situation. The right to consciousness objection is recognized only during times of peace in Finland.

At the present situation objecting the enrolment for military service is followed by very odd fine round, which is unreasonable and puts people who object also the enrolment and people who are "normal" total objectors (who go to the enrolment but refuse to do any service, and are sentenced to prison once) in different situation. Total objector who has objected also enrolment for military service is wanted by the police and when he gets in touch with the police he recieves fines and a new order to go to enrolment. When he objects again, same thing happens. It may continue several years and the fines are transformed to days in prison, when total objector can´t afford the fines. Still after that objector has to face 197 days unconditional imprisonment because of "refusing to serve in conscription system".

Rautiainen was supposed to go to enrolment for military service for the first time in November 1997, so his case has continued almost four years now. During that time he has refused to go to the enrolment for military service ten different times. Fines that he serve now in jail were transformed to days in prison in two separate trials, in August 2000 and in April 2001.

In 1994 a new section of an act (number 39) was added in law of conscription, which was especially meant to prevent the judging total objectors more than one time. However, it seems that it doesn't work with all the cases in practice. Last time the matter was considered by authorities in autumn 1999, when some members of the parliament made a question about total objectors multiple judging. Minister of defence Jan-Erik Enestam then replied that there´s no reason to do any legislational changes with the situation.

Please send protests to Finnish Defence Minister:

Jan-Erik Enestam, Minister of Defence, P.O. Box 31 00131 Helsinki tel. (+)-358-9-1608 8100 Fax (+)-358-9-653 254 e-mail: