Release conscientious objector Otto Absetz
Use this form to send the letter below to the relevant authority (Prime Minister Juha Sipilä). You can add your own notes in a separate box after the standard text, if you wish. You must include a name, address, and email address; a copy will be sent to you with a cc to the WRI office (so we have a record of how many email letters have been sent out for this particular case).
Dear Prime Minister,
I am extremely concerned to hear of the imprisonment of conscientious objector Otto Absetz, who was put in jail on 30th August 2016.
Otto Absetz was initially sentenced to ”home detention” for 173 days in March 2014. He was charged for "refusal of civilian service" (siviilipalveluksesta kieltäytyminen) and sentenced by Eastern Uusimaa district court (Itä-Uudenmaan käräjäoikeus).
He started to serve his sentence in August 2014. However, the implementation of the sentence was interrupted by the prison authorities in November 2014. A new trial was held and Otto was sentenced to serve the undone part of the sentence (99 days) in prison. He is imprisoned on 30th August 2016, almost two and half years after he was first sentenced and over three years after he had announced his refusal to the authorities.
Repeatedly, and most recently last year, the United Nation's Human Rights Committee has criticised Finland's substitute to military service, which is twice the length of military service, and therefore punitive. In its concluding observations of July 2013 the committee urged Finland to extend the privileges granted to Jehovah’s Witnesses to other conscientious objectors.
I urge you to quash the sentence of Otto Absetz, and stop detaining and imprisoning conscientious objectors.