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Finland changes view on JW conscientious objectors


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https://yle.fi/uutiset/osasto/news/jehovahs_witness_exemption_from_conscription_deemed_prejudicial_in_pivotal_ruling/10089261

 

The court decided letting JW’s off was discriminatory towards others who served time in jail.


Edited by Lance
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“The Union of Conscientious Objectors (Finnish acronym AKL) tweeted about the news on Friday, calling the court's decision ‘pivotal’ in the process towards banning conscription altogether.

...

More than that, human rights organisations including Amnesty International and the UN Human Rights Committee have long chastised the Finnish government for its ongoing practice of forced conscription. Only male (non-Witness) Finns are obliged to choose between military service, a longer civilian service term and a six-month prison (or remote monitoring) sentence.
...

All men who are jailed for objecting to conscription are considered by Amnesty International to be prisoners of conscience.”

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I've been reading a bit on this on Finnish news and much of it is from the angle of Witnesses getting favourable treatment compared to other conscientious objectors. They like to bring up how UN/Amnesty have criticised Finland on the inequality in treating different conscientious objectors (Witnesses <-> non-Witnesses), yet often what is forgotten is that Finnish brothers had to spend 10-12 months in jail for their conviction prior to mid-80s. Some seem to want a return to that sort of a procedure.

 

My dad was in prison (gotta ask him exactly how long, have forgotten despite having heard the story x thousand times :lol:) soon(ish?) after marrying my mom and the brothers a decade or so before him were incarcerated in even worse conditions. The main media outlet YLE (comparable to BBC, CBC etc.) actually did an article on the "concentration camp of Witnesses", too, but it has been buried by all the complaining articles. You can run Google Translate on it, if you wish: https://yle.fi/uutiset/3-9918925

 

The rumour has it that the person who notified the Finnish president Mr Urho Kekkonen about the labour camp "back in the days" was his chaffeur, ie. one of our brothers.

 

Edit: Brother Leinonen is usually featured in the Finnish media when Witness contact is required. He serves as a spokesman at the Finnish branch office, I think.


Edited by LoneWanderer
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3 hours ago, carlos said:

Was it not in Finland too that they were trying to declare our preaching notes illegal? Sounds like someone in power there doesn't like us.

Now, I have not been living in Finland for more than 10 years, but as far as I recall the ruckus in the media was caused by an apostate (the apostates). The Finnish Ministry of Justice, primarily through the Data Protection Ombudsman then had his to say about the issue as the question was raised. The general opinion being that it is invasive of personal privacy to have any notes of your residence, political opinions and/or religious views made of you. Of course the people do not (want to) understand why we make notes of the people we meet in service.

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2 hours ago, LoneWanderer said:

The general opinion being that it is invasive of personal privacy to have any notes of your residence, political opinions and/or religious views made of you. Of course the people do not (want to) understand why we make notes of the people we meet in service.

 

I can understand the reticence but it doesn't make sense if you understand the way it works.

 

If a person in the territory says he's not interested, you don't note it down. You only note down the houses where you didn't find anyone so you can try at another time (hardly any privacy broken here) or when you have a nice discussion with someone who is interested and you promise to come back. How are you expected to come back if you don't note it down?

 

That's so easy to understand that the only way a court could misunderstand it is if there's a black hand intentionally trying to misrepresent facts and muddy the waters.

 

Now that I think of it, was it not in Finland too where few years ago, maybe three or four, we were accused of having a "parallel justice system"? Officials from the Ministry of Justice were investigating the way our judicial committees work and I think in the end they reached the right conclusion that they don't have anything to do with penal justice, just with spiritual issues.

 

Again, it seems someone is trying to set the authorities on us.

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1 hour ago, carlos said:

Now that I think of it, was it not in Finland too where few years ago, maybe three or four, we were accused of having a "parallel justice system"? Officials from the Ministry of Justice were investigating the way our judicial committees work and I think in the end they reached the right conclusion that they don't have anything to do with penal justice, just with spiritual issues.

 

Again, it seems someone is trying to set the authorities on us.

 

This is common claim. All we are doing is determining membership eligibility.

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3 hours ago, carlos said:

Now that I think of it, was it not in Finland too where few years ago, maybe three or four, we were accused of having a "parallel justice system"? Officials from the Ministry of Justice were investigating the way our judicial committees work and I think in the end they reached the right conclusion that they don't have anything to do with penal justice, just with spiritual issues.

Yes, indeed. And my answer could be exactly same as with the previous post. Apostates cried foul play in the media, biased outlets/reporters picked up the story and made it an issue. In the end, the brothers went to the Minister of Justice, had a nice chat and showed her the "secret" book that elders use. Don't remember the exact title since I am not an elder but Shepherding the Flock Under Your Care, right? But surely people who claim that they now have been freed for life, could use it for upbuilding purposes and save the world. But no, instead, they are wasting everybody's time intent on trying frame trouble by decree of law :hammer::goatee:

 

But as you said, it seems like that there are influencial elements who hate the Witnesses and who are willing to do anything to try to hinder us. Fortunately these made-up issues are not going to hinder open-minded individuals to listen to the whole story if/when meet them in service :)

 

Edit: When I was growing up in Finland, there were never major issues with apostates trying to cause problems. The opposition came from other sources. So as such, to Finland it is a fairly new phenomenon, and likely a reason why media are picking up on these stories–thinking that these quitters are a novelty and a reliable source for information.


Edited by LoneWanderer
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