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Starving pot dealer ends hunger strike

A man convicted of growing and dealing cannabis has ended a hunger strike of nearly two months after officials agreed to let him serve time under house arrest.

This content was published on July 21, 2010 - 12:53

Bernard Rappaz, who has been jailed on drug charges before, was sentenced in 2008 by the Valais cantonal court to five years and eight months in jail for having 51 tons of hemp. He began his sentence in March 2010 and launched a hunger strike shortly after.

Rappaz called his sentence an “unjust and colossal punishment” and refused to eat for a period of 110 days with a 12-day break in between. The second part of the strike lasted for more than 50 days. He has vowed to continue his fight to legalise cannabis.

In the meantime, Rappaz, who had been transferred to a Bern hospital, has agreed to eat, Valais authorities said on Wednesday.

The Bern hospital had said they would not feed him against his will.

The house arrest will last until the Federal Court's decision on a potential suspension of the sentence, by August 26.

The suspension would run until the Valais parliament makes a decision on Rappaz's plea for clemency.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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