From Finland. Lives and works in Tampere.
Each year in Finland, there are 30-50 military objectors referred to as total objectors (totaalikieltäytyjä in Finnish). They refuse both compulsory military service and the option of civilian service. Finnish law requires that they serve a prison sentence of six months. Total objectors choose to be imprisoned for various reasons, but common ones are objecting totalitarian structures, resisting war and violence and raising awareness of what they consider an unjust practice by the Finnish government. Most of the time the sentence can be served as a 173-day home arrest. A radio signal ankle transmitter makes sure that the prisoners follow a daily regime that they have to plan several weeks in advance. The sentence is an emotionally damaging time for total objectors and for some it has long lasting effects. United Nations and Amnesty International have called Finland out for sentencing young men for not wanting to participate in military activities. Amnesty International sees total objectors as prisoners of conscience. From February 2018 to March 2019 no new total objectors were sentenced. One total objector got his case in court when he argued that he is not treated equally to Jehova’s Witnesses, who don’t have to participate in military actions because of their faith. Finnish government then passed a law revoking Jehova’s Witnesses’ special law. Now total objectors are being sentenced once again. This is a series of portraits and objects from total objectors who had already fulfilled their sentence in 2018. It was made in an attempt to raise awareness of the people going through this sentence as the Finnish government was facing a choice of whether to stop this practice or not.