APPEAL FOR SOLIDARITY HUNGER STRIKE CHAIN TO SUPPORT BERNARD RAPPAZ
24 MAY 2006: 14.00 BERNARD RAPPAZ IS SET FREE FROM PRISON AND PLACED UNDER HOUSE ARREST. HE GIVES UP HIS HUNGERSTRIKE AFTER 72 DAYS
On 22 May Bernard Rappaz, hemp farmer from Valais, Switzerland, had arrived to day 70 of his hungerstrike, against the decision to put him in prison and deny him fundamental human rights such as visits from his family. Bernard has been accused of illegal trade in cannabis, but since he is one of the country’s leading hemp industrialists and forefighters of the Freedom to Farm, it is quite clear he has become a concrete target of the authorities in Valais.
We distributed the following letter to Swiss authorities and called for people to support Bernard by joining his hungerstrike for one or two days.
The hungerstrike chain started on Tuesday 23 May 2006, and immediately, 11 activists from different places in Europe and the USA offered to participate.
And on 24 May, Bernard Rappaz was released from the prison hospital and placed under house arrest. Thanks for your support!
Dear Minister of Justice,
I request your attention on the case of Bernard Rappaz, a citizen of Switzerland and Valais, a hemp farmer, on hungerstrike for more than 65 days in the prison hospital in Bern. His action is a protest against the decision of March 14th to place him in custody, rather than to have his case considered by the Court. Since that date he refuses to feed himself.
This is an emergency. Bernard Rappaz is ready to die. Nobody can change his mind. But his death would not be necessary if you would decide to apply a human approach. Preventive detention is a superfluous measure in the case of a citizen who has already proven his respect of legal sanctions, to which he has always submitted himself in the past.
Does Bernard Rappaz need to die to bury the fight for a rational cannabis policy that protects youth, of which he is a pioneer?
We ask you to do the necessary in order to set Bernard Rappaz free as soon as possible.
We also announce you our decision to associate us to his hunger strike through an international solidarity hunger strike chain.
To be sent to:
Christoph Blocher, conseiller fédéral – Chef du DFJP (Minister of Justice)
Département fédéral de justice et police
Palais fédéral ouest
Annemarie Huber-Hotz – Chancelière de la Confédération (Minister of Foreign Affairs)
Chancellerie fédérale, Palais fédéral Ouest, 3003 Berne
Claude Janiak, président du Conseil national 2005/2006
Rolf Büttiker, Président du Conseil des Etats en 2005/2006