The ordeal of BR (part 1)

05.2.2010 AGM of the Swiss Hemp Coordination. BR is also there. He says that the invitation would come soon…. Commencement of imprisonment, 5 years 8 months. And that he will go on hunger strike.

16.3.2010 BR would have to go to prison today. I write to the LI. BR is not going to jail. He goes to Farinet Weinberg, along with the press. They then call the authorities. Why don't you go and get him? Answer: we do not play this game. BR gets a new invitation.

20.3.2010 BR is arrested at home. He starts the hunger strike.

23.3.2010 BR sends me a card.

16-18.4. hemp trade fair in Basel. Signatures are collected: Petition for the support of BR.

08.5.2010 I receive a letter from BR. He is now in Geneva, in the hospital, prison ward.

10.5.2010 After 48 days without food, BR is granted a 14 day break from prison.

21.5.2010 BR is picked up three days early at home, at 7 am. He had spoken to the press, which did not please the Valais authorities. BR no longer eats or drinks anything.

29.5.2010 Demo in front of the prison, 14 to 16 o'clock, I was there.

31.5.2010 A letter from BR reaches me.

01.6.2010 Phone from Maggie: BR is taking liquid again since 28.5.

01.6.2010 Letter from me to State Councillor Waeber-Kalbermatten. Mercy for hemp pioneer BR? Mail from President Leuthard. Replies to my letters of April and May (request for clemency).

07.6.2010 Letter from BR: Prisonnier Politique, à Sion.

13.6.2010 Phone from Maggie. BR is now back in Geneva University Hospital, prison ward. He is very weak.

16.6.2010 I write to Federal Councillor Calmy-Rey, State Councillor Waeber-Kalbermatten, to BR.

17.6.2010 Article in WOZ: Hemp Gandhi or criminal? The imprisoned hemp farmer is ready to die.

21.6.2010 Letters to Amnesty International, Cédric Wermuth (President Juso), National Councilor Geri Müller.

23.6.2010 Letter to LI: Please consider, BR is 36 days without food on 6/25/2010, and 48 days before.

24.6.2010 Aargauer Zeitung reports: Pardon of hemp farmer BR is rejected.

26.6.2010 Mail from BR.

29.6.2010 Letter to State Councillor Waeber-Kalbermatten and to BR.

01.7.2010 Card received from BR.

02.7.2010 View: Rappaz deliberately starves himself to death. Tagi: Hemp farmer rejects force-feeding.

05.7.2010 Response from Calmy-Rey.

07.7.2010 Letter to BR: Today we bring Waeber-Kalbermatten 892 signatures for the petition “Freedom for BR”. She receives us in Sion. Maggie, Marion and I hand over the signature sheets, with accompanying letters. Many press people were there. Waeber-Kalbermatten delivers a media release.

08.7.2010 Phone call to Waeber-Kalbermatten: From today on protest and demonstration in front of the University Hospital of Geneva. Tagi mentions petition.

10.7.2010 Blick: No mercy for BR. Valais Cantonal Court has rejected the appeal against the arrest.

12.7.2010 BR since today in Inselspital Bern, prison ward.

14.7.2010 Demo in Geneva: Freedom for BR.

15.7.2010 Mail from BR from Inselspital, Maggie gets four-page letter from BR.

16.7.2010 NZZ: Hemp farmer remains behind bars (Federal Court).

18.7.2010 SonntagsZeitung: Rappaz must not starve. He is to be force-fed. This decision was made by Waeber-Kalbermatten on 16.7. Doctors refuse.

19.7.2010 Letter from me to BR and to Waeber-Kalbermatten.

20.7.2010 Luzerner Zeitung: BR's lawyer lodges a protest with the Valais Cantonal Court because of force-feeding. Letter from me to Ruth Dreifuss. In the evening Zischtigsclub: Hemp farmer on hunger strike.

21.7.2010 Response letter from Amnesty International. 110 days hunger strike. From today BR eats again. Maggie tel. me: BR is coming out! Mail from BR. Marion tel.: BR will stay in Inselspital for about 4 more days.

22.7.2010 House arrest until 28.8. Nine-page petition goes to all deputies in Wallis. Tagi: BR has broken off hunger strike. He is granted house arrest until a final decision is made on his request to be released.

30.7.2010 BR is at home in Saxon. Letter to BR and to Waeber-Kalbermatten. Blick am Abend: BR in the sights. The Valais public prosecutor charges him with offenses from 02-06. He is serving his current sentence for previous offenses.

July 2010 Letter to 76 deputies in the canton of Valais. Clarification on the BR case, from Marion.

14.8.2010 Phone to BR: On 26.8. Federal Court decides on prison break.

17.8.2010 Letter to Federal Court in Lausanne.

19.8.2010 Mail from Federal Court: Confirmation of receipt.

26.8.2010 Federal Court has ruled, BR remains in custody. Switzerland News: BR is back in prison, he was picked up at home at 1.30 pm. Hunger strikers must be force-fed. BR goes on hunger strike again.

09.9.2010 Mail from BR.

11.9.2010 Luzerner Zeitung: BR receives hefty bill for house arrest. 44'000 francs for guarding at home.

13.9.2010 Card from me to BR.

25.9.2010 Letter from Sandra.

1.10.2010 NZZ: Doctors in the fight against the Federal Court (force-feeding).


Hemp does not kill. But die for the hemp?

Ruth and Sandra have been intensely involved in the Bernard Rappaz case. We publish Sandra's thoughts on the accusations against Bernard Rappaz (BR) and Ruth's chronology of his hunger strike and the activities surrounding this affair.

The general public must be protected from this criminal.

The reason for this is that BR has been sentenced to a long term of imprisonment. I am convinced that BR is not a criminal and therefore does not pose a danger to the general public. His petition testifies that he has not traded on the black market, has not forged any documents, and has not hidden, laundered, or otherwise embezzled any money. Hence his protest.

Hemp and the dried hemp flowers are a narcotic drug.

This should no longer even be allowed to claim. Hemp is a versatile and valuable plant. Not a toy, but also, fortunately, not a dangerous drug.

Cannabis is a gateway drug for hard drugs.

This has also been scientifically disproved. It is the prohibition that leads to the fact that whoever is looking for dried cannabis flowers may only find them at the heroin dealer.

A break in incarceration for BR could jeopardize public health.

Such an accusation is not comprehensible for me. BR has so far at most endangered his own health, through his hunger strike. But I am not aware of any victims because of his activity as a hemp farmer.

BR poses a serious risk to the general public and their health.

BR is a hemp farmer and pacifist. Since the toxicity of the hemp plant has never been proven, one would have to see another danger he poses to the general public. I do not see any.

The public interest in the execution of the prison sentence shall prevail over the personal welfare of the detainee.

Even if he threatens to die from it? In my opinion, it would be in the public interest to examine this individual case and justify a pardon on the grounds that BR is not a serious criminal because he has neither lied nor cheated nor murdered.

BR must become aware of prohibition.

BR is very aware of prohibition. That's why he has run his business openly, always answering questions, and has been at the forefront of education and fairness regarding the hemp plant. He is a pioneer, not a drug dealer.

Half a century of repression has thoroughly missed the mark. It would be high time for new solutions in dealing with the hemp plant.

There is now so much evidence of the usefulness of the hemp plant and its active ingredients, and new ones are being added all the time. BR is tragically willing to risk his life to have his say that his case has been completely misjudged. All the polemics in the media and the loss of his house and farm have only strengthened him in this assessment. Understandably so, in my opinion.

It seems to me that if the Rappaz case were taking place in China right now, the Swiss press would be reading about a political prisoner or dissident. In his own country, however, people stubbornly cling to the label of criminal.

Last modified: 2024/03/27 08:56

Share page: facebook X (Twitter)

Legal overview

Shit happens 15 (Summer 2023)

This overview as PDF