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13:55 | 06.03.2013


Members of the EuroParliament supporting conscientious objector Nikos Karanikas

Members of the Europarliament, from various political groups, sign a call for the immediate withdrawal of the charges and the cessation of persecution of conscientious objector Nikos Karanikas in Greece.

To whom it may concern,

On the morning of February 20th, Greek police arrested and led to Thessaloniki's' military court on charges of insubordination Nikolaos Karanikas a Greek conscientious objector. His trial is scheduled for Friday 8th.

The whole process is based on an unprecedented and extremely controversial interpretation of the law

Nikos was first arrested for draft evasion in 1995, when there were no rights to conscientious objection in Greece, and no provision for substitute service. In October 1995 he was sentenced to four years imprisonment by a military court for "insubordination in a period of general mobilization". Amnesty International declared him a prisoner of conscience. After an appeal to a military court in December 1995, his sentence was reduced to one year imprisonment, suspended for 3 years.

On his release from military prison Nikos was received a second military call up. This time he was charged with desertion when he refused.
In the year 2000, a military court absolved Nikos Karanikas from this charge. In the same year, he applied for conscientious objector status (now possible in Greece), and applied to undertake substitute service instead of military service.

The army rejected his application, claiming that he had already served in the army whilst he was imprisoned in a military jail, and could therefore not apply for substitute service. Karanikas has therefore never been permitted to undertake substitute service, even though he has declared himself willing to do so.

Nikos Karanikas is an activist, a member of the Association of Greek Conscientious Objectors and a member of SYRIZA (Coalition of Radical Left), the biggest opposition party in Greece. According to all above evidence and our strong belief that conscientious objectors should not be prosecuted in Greece and in any other country, we call for the immediate withdrawal of the charges and the cessation of persecution of conscientious objector Nikos Karanikas.

Yours sincerely,

Nikolaos Chountis- MEP ( GUE-NGL)

Cornelia Ernst – MEP  ( GUE-NGL)

Heide Ruehle – MEP ( GREENS/EFA )


Paul Murphy – MEP ( GUE-NGL)

Nikos Chrysogelos – MEP ( GREENS/EFA)

Helmut Scholz – MEP ( GUE-NGL)

Alda Sousa – MEP ( GUE-NGL)

Marisa Matias – MEP (GUE-NGL)

Sabine Losing – MEP ( GUE-NGL)

Willy Meyer – MEP ( GUE-NGL)

Sabine Wills – MEP ( GUE-NGL)

Marilena Κoppa ( S &.D)

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