Cyprus JW's Military Service
Respectfully - I don't think the account as you were informed of it and have subsequently conveyed here is entirely accurate.
how did you draw this conclusion?
"If conscientious objector status is claimed due to religious or ideological reasons, the objector may serve either an alternative military or civil service, depending on the circumstances of each case." (Wikipedia)
Since Cyprus is legally bound to the European Union and its human rights conventions, it looks like this story is a fabrication/wishful thinking on someone's part.
Also there is this...
Yearbook 1995, page 111 (my emphasis)
In a memorandum to the minister of education, dated April 16, 1991, the attorney general reviewed the matter in the light of the Cyprus Constitution. He then rendered the opinion that Jehovah’s Witnesses are a “known religion,” so the students’ religion should be shown on their school reports.This opinion of the attorney general had a favorable effect on other legal developments involving Jehovah’s servants in Cyprus. A nine-page memorandum issued by his office stated that ministers of Jehovah’s Witnesses should be treated in the same way as those of the mainstream religions of Cyprus. At a time when there was renewed pressure from opposers, this served to fortify a decision made by the authorities in July 1990 regarding Jehovah’s Witnesses. On the basis of that decision, elders and ministerial servants in the congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses were exempted from military service because they were recognized as being ministers of religion.
As far as i am aware it would be viewed as a decision to disassociate. Auto-shun immediate effect.
I think what your colleague has come across is probably cases of JW " born in's " who were never baptised but hold some residual belief's from childhood. I tend to call these folks " cultural" jw's.
These are not under any obligation not to serve in the military and indeed we have posters on this site who are ex-military from jw backgrounds.
To add to this topic..
I had a young friend in Italy that left Bethel early, due to having to serve his mandatory military service.
This was in the early 2000s. Allot may have changed since then.
At that time, also, you could get married in the hall with out your divorce being final. It took 5 years . [this has changed to 3 years and the 'kind provision' is no more] You just signed a paper witnessed by elders that when your divorce was final you would legally marry. If you didn't , well, you were DFed. for fornication. lol
I spoke to my colleague and he said the law changed in 2009 and that's when they started participating in the conscripted service.
i just googled Cyprus 2009 Jehovah military ..... and indeed there seems to be evidence he was being truthful.
Obviously it's just anecdotal, but I do believe my colleague as he had no motive to lie.
"25 Sep 2009 — warresisters
- Cyprus still maintains conscription. The recognition of the right to conscientious objection does not meet international standards.
- The right to conscientious objection is not recognised for professional soldiers, nor for serving conscripts."
According to the excerpt quoted in the JW Yearbook (1995), exemptions from military service were provided for elders and ministerial servants - so none for baptised (or unbaptised) brothers who did not have those two assigned positions in the congregations .In other words, for most young male JWs in Cyprus of conscription age. Hence the OP could be correct .