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Defence Minister suggests that petty criminals do military service

The Minister of National Defence, Nuno Melo defended this week that military service could be an alternative for young people who commit minor crimes instead of being placed in institutions that, "in most cases, only function as a school of crime for life".

“How many of these young people, if instead of being institutionalised without any conditions, could do military service, have the opportunity to exercise training, authority and values, could not later be much better citizens and simply not have been given that opportunity?”, he quizzed.

According to Lusa, “both in his opening speech and in answering questions from the ‘students’ of this political training initiative, the Defence Minister rejected the return of compulsory military service.

The best way to encourage young people into the Armed Forces, he said, is to offer better conditions for entering university and/ or the civil service.

On Thursday, the parliamentary committee for National Defense approved unanimously two requests from Chega and IL for the urgent hearing of the Minister of Defense on compulsory military service as an alternative punishment for young people who commit minor offenses.

Nuno Melo said he was "very happy" with the requests submitted to the Assembly of the Republic so that he could provide clarifications precisely there, before parliament, which he stressed he would do "with great pleasure".

"I myself was a deputy and, therefore, I will be there, with great pleasure, to give explanations about all this, not now, not now. The explanations I will give will be to the deputies in the mother house of democracy", he said, guaranteeing that he will answer all the questions that the deputies ask him "without exception".

The Minister of National Defense also defended that, "much more than justifying or commenting on" what "he never said", what "should really be evaluated is how what happened 48 hours ago can happen in a consolidated democracy".

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