IamA 19-year-old conscientious objector. After 173 days in prison, I was released last Saturday. AMA!
My short bio: I am Risto Miinalainen, a 19-year-old upper secondary school student and conscientious objector from Finland. Finland has compulsory military service, though women, Jehovah's Witnesses and people from Åland are not required to serve. A civilian service option exists for those who refuse to serve in the military, but this service lasts more than twice as long as the shortest military service. So-called total objectors like me refuse both military and civilian service, which results in a sentence of 173 days. I sent a notice of refusal in late 2015, was sentenced to 173 days in prison in spring 2016 and did my time in Suomenlinna prison, Helsinki, from the 4th of October 2016 to the 25th of March 2017. In addition to my pacifist beliefs, I made my decision to protest against the human rights violations of Finnish conscription: international protectors of human rights such as Amnesty International and the United Nations Human Rights Committee have for a long time demanded that Finland shorten the length of civilian service to match that of military service and that the possibility to be completely exempted from service based on conscience be given to everybody, not just a single religious group - Amnesty even considers Finnish total objectors prisoners of conscience. An individual complaint about my sentence will be lodged to the European Court of Human Rights in the near future. AMA! Information about Finnish total objectors
My Proof: A document showing that I have completed my prison sentence (in Finnish) A picture of me to compare with for example this War Resisters' International page or this news article (in Finnish)
Edit 3pm Eastern Time: I have to go get some sleep since I have school tomorrow. Many great questions, thank you to everyone who participated!