EBCO urges Greece to stop the prosecution of Menelaos Exioglou

Brussels, 17 December 2012

In view of the trial of young Greek conscientious objector Menelaos Exioglou on charges of insubordination by the military court of Larisa, Greece, on 18 December 2012, EBCO calls on the Greek authorities to stop the persecution of Menelaos Exioglou and all other Greek conscientious objectors, and fulfil the international obligations of Greece by fully respecting their human rights, both in law and in practice. EBCO’s Secretary General Angelos Nikolopoulos will testify in defense of Menelaos Exioglou.

“We strongly condemn the Greek practice of criminalisation of young conscientious objectors. It’s high time Greece respects the European and international standards. It’s just unacceptable that young Greek people have to face prosecution and prison sentences just because of their conscience, and it’s even more unacceptable that they have to appear before military courts, although they are civilians.”, EBCO’s President Friedhelm Schneider said today, reminding the Nobel Peace Prize obligations to be fulfilled by the European Union member states.

29-year-old Menelaos Exioglou is a total objector. He was called-up for military service in August 2010 and refused to serve both the compulsory military service and the substitute civilian service, which is still punitive and discriminatory against conscientious objectors in Greece.

In 1997, Greece was by 19 years the last of the then members of the European Union to accept conscientious objection to military service and make a substitute civilian service available for conscientious objectors by Law 2510/1997. Law 3421/2005 and Law 3883/2010 have amended some of the provisions of Law 2510/1997, but in many aspects the law still falls far short of international standards.

EBCO’s detailed concerns on Greece are analysed in its Submission to the UN Universal Periodic Review 11th session of the UPR Working Group, May 2011, on Greece and in its recent Report to the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs of the European Parliament, September 2012.

EBCO press contact:
Angelos Nikolopoulos, EBCO’s Secretary General, +30 698 850 9211.

(also in greek)

EBCO calls for statements and actions of solidarity with young Greek conscientious objector Menelaos Exioglou.

Amnesty International - Greece: press release