NEWS

Draft dodgers could be named

The head of Greece's privacy watchdog said yesterday that the names of celebrities who dodged their military service can be made public, contrary to earlier statements by the government which revealed that some 1,000 shirkers had so far been identified. Dimitris Gourgourakis, the head of the Hellenic Data Protection Authority (APPD), told a parliamentary committee that the draft dodgers who were already public personalities could be named under certain circumstances. After claims about celebrities skipping their military service resurfaced last week, the Defense Ministry said that it could not name them because the APPD had refused permission because of privacy laws. However, Gourgourakis said that he was surprised by the comments because the ministry had inquired about publishing the names of all the draft dodgers and not just those who were already famous. He said that in such a case the law allows the publication of someone's name if that person is widely known. Meanwhile, Deputy Defense Minister Yiannis Lambropoulos made public yesterday the results so far of an investigation into draft dodging since 1997. Lambropouls said that 28,831 draftees had been considered ineligible for their military service mostly because of medical and family problems between 1997 and 2004. The deputy minister said that 95 of these men were issued forged certificates relieving them of their military duties. He said that 4,450 of the remaining cases have been re-examined so far and that authorities decided that 918 of these draftees should have served in the armed forces. Lambropoulos said that officials will also begin looking at 2,000 more cases from 2005. He added that the average number of conscripts being excused had dropped over the last three years from more than 4,000 to around 3,000. An army lieutenant colonel is awaiting trial after being secretly filmed last month stealing draft documents that could later be used to excuse prospective conscripts from their military duties.

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