Cheating conscripts targeted

More than 55,000 Greek men who have served a reduced stint in the military due to their family status will be scrutinized after the Defense Ministry found that some had used false documents to secure their preferential treatment. Greece offers males the right to cut their compulsory military service if their family situation warrants this exception. This includes men who are the eldest in their families and whose fathers have passed away, or who are married or have children. According to the ministry, 55,507 men served less than the normal military service between 2000 to 2004, while another 28,149 were completely cleared of military duties between 1997 and 2004. Standard military service is currently at 12 months for those in the army, 14 months for the air force and 15 months for the navy. As part of its fight against military service evaders, the Defense Ministry yesterday asked the state’s legal council to change a ruling by the Personal Data Protection Agency forbidding the ministry from publishing the names of those who skipped the army illegally. The agency turned down this request last year but agreed to let the military police review the files of those who have been dismissed from their military duties. Meanwhile, money, family and girlfriend issues seem to be causing problems for the country’s soldiers, according to statistical data released yesterday on conscripts arrested on drug charges. Half of the soldiers arrested for taking narcotics in 2004 said they took drugs because of family problems, while 28 percent blamed finances and their partners.

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