Prisoners for Peace


1st December is Prisoners for Peace Day. For over 60 years, War Resisters' International have, on this day, made known the names and stories of those imprisoned because of their actions for peace. Many are conscientious objectors, in gaol for refusing to join the military. Others have taken nonviolent actions to disrupt preparation for war.

This day is a chance for you to demonstrate your support for those individuals and their movements, by writing to those whose freedom has been taken away from them because of their work for peace.

WRI has a permanent Prisoners for Peace list, which we make a special effort to update for Prisoners for Peace Day on December 1st.

Ideas for action

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On 1 December, put aside at least one hour and write at least four cards to prisoners; If possible, invite friends around and make an evening of it -- remember to bring nice cards, pens, photos, and some money for postage; Get your peace group or class or place of worship to organise a card-writing session; Set up a stall in your town centre -- make a mock prison cell to highlight the plight of the prisoners. Sending cards and letters Always send your card in an envelope; Include a return name and address on the envelope

1 December is International Prisoners for Peace Day, and every year War Resisters' International invites supporters to send greetings cards to prisoners. The Honour Roll includes those imprisoned for conscientious objection to military service and for nonviolent action against war preparations.
Each year the day has a focus on a particular region or campaign: this year we highlight political prisoners in Indonesia, East Timor and West Papua.


Pedro Oliver of KEM-MOC (the Basque CO Movement) evaluates the prison experience of insumisos as a political tool.

From the very beginning, in 1989, MOC and other anti-militarist groups have endeavoured to make their total resistance campaign ("Insumisión") its own best antidote against state repression.

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 The list and individual articles can also be forwarded by fax or by email on request.

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.


There are religious COs currently imprisoned in southern Cyprus, but they do not wish to have their names published. They face up to 26 months in prison.


Jukka Lassila
Uudenmaan Laaninvankila
PL 20
05401 Jokela
(in 2/6/97 -- out 18/12/97)
Total objector

Timo Saarelma
Same address as above
(in 03/11/97 -- out 20/05/98)
Total objector


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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.

Surviving in prison

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Stephen Hancock Prison conjures up hundreds of images and feelings. And covers a variety of institutions and experiences - from hell-holes of torture and deprivation to well-resourced open campuses. Each person's experience is shaped by myriad factors: gender, race, age, sexuality, geography, character, regime, prisoners, prison officers, family relationships, political climate, and support. Even within one country prison varies enormously. I have stayed in three different English prisons, twice for one week and once for six months.

1 December is Prisoners for Peace Day

Every December, War Resisters' International invites supporters to send greeting cards to prisoners for peace. This Honour Roll includes imprisoned conscientious objectors and nonviolent activists who have tried to obstruct war preparations. Each year, we also focus on one of the nonviolent struggles around the world: this year it is in Burma, where a military régime suppresses democratic organisations and wages a war against tribal groups.

As well as being Prisoners for Peace Day, 1 December is now World AIDS Awareness Day. Insumisión Rosa (Pink Resistance), the gay group in MOC-Madrid, hand out the following text:

Since objectors have been going to prison, we have denounced the treatment of people deprived of their liberty and of prison rules which block the flee circulation of syringes and condoms.

The Prisoners for Peace honour roll cannot include all the nonviolent social activists imprisoned in the pursuit of peace, freedom, and justice. Every year, however, WRI highlights one such struggle-this year, the focus is on nonviolent civil resistance to military rule in Nigeria.


When news of the hanging of Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other Ogoni activists spread to the world's press on Saturday 11 November, almost everybody shook their head in disbelief.

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