NEWS

Gunning for draft dodgers

Military officials have trained their sights on draft dodgers after revealing yesterday that the number of conscripts avoiding their service in the armed forces has shot up since 2000. «People must realize there can be no more lies, lawlessness will not continue and the laws of the land will be enforced without exception,» the Defense Ministry said in a statement, adding that it would track down conscripts who had avoided call-up. The number of draft dodgers in Greece had risen from 5,521 in 2000 to 14,950 in 2004, the ministry said. A similar number is thought to be living abroad. Several recent high-profile cases involving actors and singers have attracted attention to the issue. Last month, popular singer Antonis Remos was drafted after his exemption on grounds of poor health was overturned and he was deemed to be in top physical condition. Military service ranges from between 12 and 15 months and refusing to sign up is a criminal offense, punishable with a range of penalties, including losing the right to vote and work in the public sector.