A new trial of Greek conscientious objector Lazaros Petromelidis triggered a campaign for conscientious objectors in Greece, which ties in with International Conscientious Objectors' Day on 15 May 2005, which will focus on Greece.
Lazaros Petromelidis was sentenced on 16 December 2004 to 2 1/2 years imprisonment for two charges of "insubordination", dating from 26 July 1999 and 3 July 2003. The trial was carried out in his absence. Lazaros Petromelidis chose to fax the court a letter today explaining the reasons why he would not appear in court.
Lazaros Petromelidis has been persecuted since 1992 when he declared his conscientious objection (before recognition of the right in 1997). He has been passed through a dozen trials, has been jailed 3 times and he is already sentenced to a 20 month suspended sentence. Further information on his case is available at http://wri-irg.org/co/cases/petromelidis-en.htm (the fact file is also available in French and will soon be available in Spanish).
Lazaros Petromelidis is now under imminent threat of arrest. An appeal against the sentence would not allow for release on bail until the appeal trial.
The new sentence 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 been finally convicted or acquitted in accordance with the law and penal procedure of each country." Therefore, War Resisters' International calls for the suspension of his sentence.
War Resisters' International calls on people to send protest e-mails via: http://wri-irg.org/co/alerts/20041216a.html or letters to:Mr. Kostas Karamanlis, Prime Minister of Greece, Maximos Mansion, ('Megaro Maximou') 19, Herodou Attikou str, GR-106 74 Athens (firstname.lastname@example.org)