[LETTERS TO THE EDITOR]A similar experienceI’m writing after reading your article “Jehovah’s Witnesses: pacifists and model prisoners” (July 21). I’m French and a Jehovah’s Witness.
Eleven years ago, I was paroled from a French prison after spending a nine-month term in jail. I actually got 13 months in court. I was convicted for “refusal of obedience,” which is the legal expression used in the case of young Jehovah’s Witnesses who refuse to wear the uniform.
I can understand what the young Korean Witnesses are going through. Everything used to be just the same here in French courts and jails for Jehovah’s Witnesses.
A new law was passed in 1995 in France. From that time on, Jehovah’s Witnesses could serve in alternative services. To my knowledge, it is also the case in most countries in Europe.
Military service in France is not mandatory anymore. A page has turned. What we went through belongs to history, but after reading your article, I felt that there is some universal language.
by Sebastien Serre