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Convicted hemp farmer ends hunger strike

A hemp farmer sentenced to five years in jail for growing pot and other offences has decided to end a hunger strike 120 days after it began.

Bernard Rappaz from canton Valais said he would follow a court order and resume eating on Christmas Eve.

The European Court of Human Rights rejected Rappaz’s requests to intervene in his case immediately after all Swiss authorities refused to commute his sentence. Judges in Strasbourg said it would take two to three years to hear his case and ordered him to eat in the meantime.

In a statement released on Thursday, the 57-year-old Rappaz thanked supporters for showing solidarity with him. He criticised Swiss judicial authorities for having swung toward “populist rightwing fascism”.

Rappaz has been on and ended several hunger strikes since being convicted for having 51 tons of hemp between 1997 and 2001. The sentence is too severe, he believes. Swiss authorities recently ordered him to be forced fed if need be, an action Rappaz also spoke out against.

“My actions have also led the medical community to be able to unanimously stand for respecting human rights and against the medieval torture of forced feeding,” he said

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR