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MHRMC - Press Release

Upcoming Trial of Macedonian Activist in Greece

November 14, 1998

The Macedonian Human Rights Movement of Canada calls on the international community to condemn the upcoming trial on Wednesday, November 18, 1998 of Trajanos Pasois, an ethnic Macedonian human rights activist living in Greece.

On February 17, 1996, Trajanos Pasois crossed the border between Greece and the Republic of Macedonia at Niki (Negochani). He brought two wall calendars with him, which were written in the Macedonian language and which included the Macedonian names of villages in Greece. For this reason he was charged under Article 191 of the Greek Penal Code "disseminating false information"). Furthermore, the indictment stated that the wall calendars:

"praised clearly controversial and provocative actions and decisions by political parties, groups and organizations which took part in the civil war. These actions and decisions disputed the Greek character of Macedonia, aiming at dismemberment, secession and annexation by a neighbouring state then enemy of Greece."

Following the postponement of Trajanos Pasois' first trial on March 18, 1998, Amnesty International appealed to the Greek authorities to drop the charges:

"Amnesty International believes that the charge brought against Trajanos Pasois is motivated by his public support for the recognition of the Macedonian minority in Greece, by his affirmation of membership of such a minority and by his support for the right to use, without restriction, the Macedonian language and disseminate views and opinions relating to the region."

"The organization considers that by bringing Trajanos Pasois to trial simply for expressing his opinion, the Greek authorities are acting in violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and Article 10 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR), both of which Greece has ratified and is therefore bound to observe."

The Macedonian Human Rights Movement of Canada praises the recent conviction of Greece at the European Court of Human Rights in its case against the Macedonian Cultural Association as well as the recent acquittal of the Rainbow Party by the Greek courts on September 15, 1998. We believe that the Greek authorities should continue in this direction and drop all charges against Trajanos Pasois and take the necessary steps in granting its ethnic minorities their basic human rights.

Bill Nicholov
Macedonian Human Rights Movement of Canada
P.O. Box 44532, 2376 Eglinton Avenue East
Toronto, Canada
M1K 5K3
Tel: 416-202-8866
Fax: 416-412-3385

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