On 20 February 2002, conscientious objector Marino Keckeis began a hunger strike, 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. To protest against his imprisonment and the imprisonment of other conscientious objectors in Switzerland, Marino Keckeis started his hunger strike on 20 February. Keckeis’ conditions of confinement have been successively harshened since, 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 post from his lawyer. The right to receive visits has been restricted to a total of 5 hours a month and the prison decides who is at all allowed in, ie no representatives of organisations including churches, no media, and no close friends who are considered a threat. These measures are, according to Mr Hans-Rudolf Schwarz, prison director, also an attempt to prevent publicity.
War Resisters' International therefore calls for (friendly) letters of protest to: Bundesrat Samuel Schmid
Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sports Bundeshaus Ost
tel.: +41-31-324 5058
fax: +41-31-324 5104
Josef Leu, President of the Defence Commission NR email: firstname.lastname@example.org
War Resisters' International