War Resisters' International was informed yesterday about the attempted arrest of Greek conscientious objector Lazaros Petromelides. Petromelides learned about the new arrest warrant last Tuesday, and luckily he was not at home when the police tried to arrest him. Lazaros Petromelides learned that again he is being investigated for draft evasion. Petromelides latest trial was supposed to take place on 13 November 03, but was again postponed, this time to 19 February 2004. After a long struggle, Petromelides was granted conscientious objector status in 1999, but he then was called up for 30 months substitute service, instead of four months of military service. He refused this, and so he CO status was removed. On 15 April 1999 he was sentenced to 4 years imprisonment for draft evasion (prior to his CO status), but released on bail after 2 1/2 months, due to his pending appeal. This was finally decided on 12 June 2003, when he was sentenced to 20 months suspended sentence. His new trial is for draft evasion from his substitute service posting. This trial is in contradiction to Article 14 paragraph 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights: "No one shall be liable to be tried or punished again for an offence for which he has already been finally convicted or acquitted in accordance with the law and penal procedure of each country."
War Resisters' International calls for letters of protest to the Greek authorities, or Greek embassies abroad. A list of Greek embassies abroad can be found at http://www.mfa.gr/english/the_ministry/missions/, a protest email can be send at http://wri-irg.org/co/alerts/20031121a.html.
War Resisters' International calls for the immediate halt of criminal proceedings against Lazaros Petromelides.
War Resisters' International