Friday, 19 November 2010

Bernard Rappaz still on hunger strike

Esther Kalbermatten-Waeber at the Valais cantonal court has rejected the appeal of Bernard Rappaz, the Swiss hemp activist and marijuana farmer currently serving 5 years in prison, for his sentence to be overturned. He is protesting by going on a hunger strike, so far lasting 76 days.
This is one of many hunger strikes staged by Bernard, who likens the current Swiss laws on Marijuna to the alcohol prohibition in the US in 1930’s. In November 2001 he went on a hunger strike lasting 72 days. Then in March 2006 he began another after being re-incarcerated. In April of that year he was sent to a hospital facility where he still refused to eat before being sent back prison medical facilities in Bern. This strike lasted 74 days.
The current hunger strike started in August when he has previously been on a series of hunger strikes starting back in March of this year. His previous hunger strikes had been interrupted by health problems and were consequently suspended but only ever for a few weeks.
In November 2008 Bernard was sentenced to 5 years and 8 months in prison for growing cannabis, drug trafficking, violation of traffic laws and ‘economic crimes’ to name but a few. His court appeal was overruled in March and since then has been on a hunger strike. At the Valias cantonal court Esther Kalbermatten-Waeber has now rejected his latest appeal for his prison sentence to be ended saying there is insufficient reason to pardon him. The court added that Rappaz should be force fed if necessary.
But various doctor’s associations in Switzerland have stated that force-feeding patients violates their rights and the ethics of medicine. According to Bernard’s website blog, the doctors at the University hospital of Geneva are not feeding him against his will. Bernard is said to be very weak, fatigued and suffering from hypoglycemia.
It is imperative that we raise awareness for Bernard and write in protest to Madame Esther Kalbermatten-Waeber at the Valais court to overturn their decision before it is too late. Bernard is seen by many as a political prisoner and his facebook group describes him as ‘a scapegoat, the man to kill. [A] Victim of the Swiss government's protectionist attitudes of the Swiss pharmaceutical industry’ ( Here you will find ways of supporting Bernard as well as a link to his website.
Please pledge your support by emailing the letter below to in support of Bernard’s release:
Dear Madame Esther Waeber-Kalbermatten,
Please have compassion on Bernard Rappaz.
We know he is close to death, please let him go home with an electronic bracelet until his case comes up.
Bernard is not a dangerous man - please let him go home, Madame Esther.
Please pledge your support by emailing this to

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