co-alert - conscientious objectors need our support
War Resisters' International, London, 14 June 2007


GERMANY: Second arrest for total objector Jonas Grote

German total objector Jonas Grote (DE14923) was given a second arrest of 21 days yesterday afternoon. Jonas Grote, who refuses military and substitute service for reasons of conscience, already spent 21 days in military arrest from 23 May until 12 June (see co-alert, 1 June 2007).

In recent years, the German Bundeswehr usually did not call up total objectors who had announced their total objections to military and substitute service. However, this is different in the case of Jonas Grote, although he had already refused the medical examination in spring 2006. Instead, he had been called up for military service for 1 April 2007, and did present himself during a public action in Karlsruhe on 15 May 2007.

Lawyer Barbara Kramer, chairperson of the Central office of the rights and protection of objectors for reasons of conscience (Zentralstelle KDV) said: "This approach is a fallback into the times of the cold war. Although the Bundeswehr only has to call-up 35,000 for basic military service out of 400,000 young men annually, out of all people it calls up someone who objects to any kind of service out of reasons of conscience. The continued imprisonment of Jonas Grote is an unconstitutional attempt to break his conscience."

In 2000, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention issued Recommondation 2 on the detention of conscientious objectors. The Working Group noted that "repeated incarceration in cases of conscientious objectors is directed towards changing their conviction and opinion, under threat of penalty.  The Working Group considers that this is incompatible with article 18, paragraph 2, of the International  Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, under which no one shall be subject to coercion which would impair his freedom to have or adopt a belief of his choice." It calls for measures "to prevent the judicial system from being used to force conscientious objectors to change their convictions" (E/CN.4/2001/14, chap. IV, sect. B).

In the case of Jonas Grote, the repeated military arrest is clearly used to force him to change his convictions. This is unconstitutional according to the German constitution, and a violation of article 18 paragraph 2 of the ICCPR.

War Resisters' International calls for letters of support to Jonas Grote

Jonas Grote, Heeresfliegerstaffel 269, Otto-Lilienthal-Kaserne, 91154 Roth

War Resisters' International calls for letters of protest to:

War Resisters' International calls for the immediate release of Jonas Grote, and all imprisoned conscientious objectors.

Andreas Speck
War Resisters' International

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