Finnish conscientious objector Henri Sulku began a sentence of 173 days 'home detention' on Monday 6th October. Henri was sentenced on 24 June by Eastern Uusimaa district court (Itä-Uudenmaan käräjäoikeus) for "refusal of civilian service" (siviilipalveluksesta kieltäytyminen).
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Henri is a convinced antimilitarist. "Militaristic, hierarchical and macho military service represents the kind of moral and politics which is in total contradiction with my own. Therefore I consider refusal of all conscription the only viable option for me", he said in his trial.
House arrest has been possible for total objectors in Finland since November 2011. The prisoner must wear an electronic ankle bracelet and is allowed to work or study outside home during the sentence, but otherwise must stay at home. Since 2011, every year about 40-50 young Finnish men are sentenced to home detention or prison because they refuse to be conscripted. The number has been growing lately. Although more and more young men are exempted from concription because the army doesn't need them any more, the Finnish state still punishes those who refuse.
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.
War Resisters' International calls for Henri Sulku's sentence to be quashed, and the detention of all conscientious objectors to cease.
Please use our template email to send a letter of protest to the Finnish authorities.
Please also send a copy of the protest email to your local Finnish embassy - a list can be found here.