Greece: Substitute service now 23 months - but repression of COs continues

The Greek law on conscientious objection has been amended so that now conscientious objectors serving in substitute service can finish their service after serving twice the time of military service minus 1 month - this would amount to 23 months of substitute service. Practically this is a reduction from 30 months to 23 months. However, substitute service is still considerably longer than military service, and has still to be considered as punitive in length.

While the shortening of substitute service is somehow good news, WRI also received bad news from Greece. On 15 September, War Resisters' International had to sent out a co-alert on Greece, because Giorgios Monastiriotis has been sentenced to 3 years and 4 months imprisonment for refusing to participate in a military mission which in effect was a support to the war on Iraq.

Lazaros Petromelidis, a conscientious objector who already stood trial several times (the last one was in February 2004), has still trouble with the Greek authorities. On Wednesday, September 22nd, two police officers “visited” his house in order to arrest him because again an arrest warrant against him has been issued for draft evasion. Lazaros was not at home and they spoke with his wife. However, Lazaros Petromelidis is now always under the threat of being arrested again.