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Written by Sam Enq

Janez Novak

Country of Birth:


Year of birth: 1964

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It Seemed That Jehovah Blocked Their Sight

In December 1984, the military authorities repeatedly issued orders for him to report to the army. When they stuck the call-up notice on his door and threatened that the military police would come for him, he decided to report to the barracks to explain his position to them. This was not successful, and they decided to do everything in their power to make a soldier out of him. They shaved his head, took away his civilian clothes, and offered him a soldier's uniform. When he refused the uniform, they put it on him by force, and then they put a pen in his hands and tried to force him to sign up for the army. He refused.

He also refused to take part in such activities as morning exercise and saluting the flag. When four soldiers took him to the yard and ordered him to do the exercises, he would not lift up his hands. They tried to lift his hands until they realized how ridiculous the situation was. They aimed a rifle at him and threatened to kill him. Sometimes they tried to bribe him by offering him coffee and cakes.

His determination made some of them cry. Others became furious when he refused to spit on the picture of Marshal Tito that they held in front of his face. After a couple of days, they tried to make him carry weapons, which he also refused to do. This was classified as a military offense, and he was confined to the barracks for one month. Then he spent several weeks in a prison cell in Zagreb, Croatia, awaiting the verdict. A red light was left on in the cell the whole night. and only if the person in charge was in a good mood was he allowed to go to the restroom.

Finally, he was sentenced to three years of imprisonment on an adriatic island called Goli Otok, where they sent the worst convicts. They took him to this prison, notorious for violence among the inmates, with his hands bound in chains because he refused to fight. There he met four other Witness who had been imprisoned because of their neutral stand.

They were not allowed to bring in a Bible or any other literature. However, one Bible was there already. His relatives mailed him The Watchtower in a box with a false bottom. The guards never discovered our literature and never found out that we were holding Christian meetings. Sometimes when guards came in, literature that had been left out was lying right in front of them, but it seemed that Jehovah blocked their sight because they did not notice anything.

After a year he was moved to Slovenia to complete his sentence. He got married to Rahela while he was still in prison. When he was finally released, he started pioneering with his wife, and since 1993 they have been serving as Slovenia Bethel.
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