Open letter from the Association of Greek Conscientious Objectors
Dear friends and supporters,
The current year is one of the worst periods in the history of the Conscientious Objection in Greece, concerning the prosecutions the objectors face. The revengeful prosecutions of the military have turned to aimed arrests and sentences in order to eliminate the objectors personally and financially. Six trials and over ten arrests of ideological objectors who had never concealed their personal data (place of living etc), are the proof that recruit offices reacted immediately and aggressively against the growing trend of conscientious objectors.
The attack of the military has spread to every sector of the citizens everyday life, while the change in the way the objectors are treated by the courts is obvious. Their cases are judged in court halls and on days when there are no other cases, as their word must not be heard to thirds. Trials on reservation, with the halls open just for few. On the one side the supporters of the “accused” and on the other the policemen and the military policemen.
All the above are no surprise for us. Greece possesses the worst position among the 27 EU countries and the 4th worst among the 47 countries of the European Council (lower than only Turkey, Azerbaijan and Armenia) regarding violations of the rights of conscientious objectors according to EBCO and the first place regarding the spends for armament according to SIPRI. The violation of rights that have been imposed by the military mechanism (recruiters and prosecutors) have lead during June only to:
a. The arrest of Micalis Tolis in Ioannina (03/06)
b. The arrest and trial of Nikos Karanikas (44 years old) in Thessaloniki
c. The trial and sentence (second one after December, 2012) of Menelaos Exioglou in Athens (20/6)
d. The arrest of Lazaros Petromelidis (50 years old) on the same day he supported Exioglou as a witness in court, in Piraeus (20/6) and his release after the payment of 5500€.
Within the following six months, there are already trials scheduled for Karanikas, Exioglou, Tolis, Akrivopoulos, Niotis and Sotiropoulos, at least these are the ones we know till now. At the same time, to the people who do not join the army (total objectors or people who want to serve an alternative civilian service but are rejected by the so called “Consciousness Committee”) a fine of 6000€ is imposed. The European Court of Human Rights has decided that the cconscientious objection to military service is a fundamental human right and that the military courts should not judge COs, and in no case for the same action. Greece, regardless of all these decisions is trying to morally, physically and economically eliminate all those trying to practice their rights.
We call social and political groups, parties, organizations, every sensitive and democratic citizen in Greece and abroad to stand up for our effort, supporting the fund raising for the prosecuted objectors with any amount available. As repression spreads over Greek society, whoever invokes the word “rights” tend to be characterized as “enemy of the state” and it seems that the first imprisonment of a conscientious objector is closer than any time in the past ten years.
Account number: National Bank of Greece, ΙΒAN: GR7301101390000013995324392,
Account Holders: Dimitris Sotiropoulos, Lazaros Petromelidis