International Prisoners for Peace Day, 1 December, is a time to remember, to salute nonviolently, and to send our love, letters and cards to imprisoned antimilitarists around the world. Pacifist prisoners are often at the heart of anti-militarist struggles. and it's fitting that they should enjoy a special place in our calendar as well as in our hearts and minds.
Well, okay... not exactly. So far, we are still safely in our seats. But if we were in Tibet, it could be a very different story. A 60-year-old tailor and a 58 year-old businessman were sentenced to nine and six years respectively after a court found them guilty of putting together a list of cur-rent and released Tibetan prisoners. They were convicted of espionage, since their alleged intention was to send the list abroad. Apparently one of the men had committed the "crime" of passing this letter on to another Tibetan for delivery to India.
This Prisoners for Peace list was originally published as a supplement to the December 1997 Peace News, which is sent to Broken Rifle subscribers as issue number 40. It is also published in French, Spanish and German in those language editions of The Broken Rifle. If you would like a copy of the newsletter in one of these languages, please contact the WRI office at 5 Caledonian Road, London N1 90X. Britain (fax +44 171 278 0444; email firstname.lastname@example.org). The list and individual articles can also be forwarded by fax or by email on request.
Three US peace activists - Audrey Stewart, Jessica Stewart and Steve Cohen -acting in solidarity with the recently imprisoned Prince of Peace Plowshares [see page v), boarded the Aegis destroyer US Mahan at the Bath Iron Works, Maine, USA on 10 November. They spattered the ship with their own blood, scattered flowers and left statements declaring their stance against the Aegis destroyers and all other weapons of mass destruction. "One Aegis has the capability to destroy an entire continent," they said.
Bart Horeman reports: About 250 conscientious objectors - all of them Jehovah's Witnesses - are currently imprisoned In Greece Usually sentenced to four years, COs start their jail term in a military prison and are later transferred to a civilian one, where they can work in exchange for a sentence reduction. When they have completed two-thirds of their sentence, the rest is conditionally suspended.
On Friday 14 November six East Timorese refugees were remanded to a prison in Preston in the north of England, awaiting trial on charges of "trespass" following an action at British Aerospace's nearby Werton factory.
The six were arrested on 12 November along with three British activists after they climbed into the factory as a protest against the export of BAe Hawk warplanes to Indonesia. All six refused to give the police their names and were held in police cells for two days, before being remanded to prison.
Serdar Tekin of ISKD (Izmir War Resisters) reflects on the impact that Osman Murat Ülke's well-publicised conscientious objection has had in Turkey.
In Turkey, all men over 20 are required to do 18 months of what the Constitution euphemistically calls "Fatherland service". Despite our country's strong militarist tradition, for years there has been widespread avoidance of conscription: by buying oneself out; by taking advantage of deferments; by evading the draft; or by deserting.
Landless people in Brazil are resorting to direct action to meet their needs; Grace Livingstone reports.
Rural landless labourers converged on Brasilia last April after a 1000km march. They were met m the Brazilian capital by a 50,000 strong cheering crowd waving banners, throwing flowers and offering baskets of food. The government agreed to meet the leaders of the landless.
As we remember imprisoned peacemakers, Xabi Agirre Aranburu argues the case for imprisoning those responsible for war crimes as a necessary step in preventing war.
The town of Stolac's position on the front-line had made it an obvious target of Serbian artillery ever since the war In Bosnia begun. One particular morning In the summer of 1992 began with the usual Serbian bombardment. This time, the shells landed, but did not explode.
A big thank you to all our translators without whom this supplement would not have been possible: Sebastian Haywood-Ward, Gerd Büntzli, Carola Jueptner, Andreas Speck, Rafa Sainz de Rozas, Kutxo Sarasola Anzola, Pierre Arcq, and Simone Saillard.