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MHRMC - Press Release

Response to GHM/IFEX Appeal:
Greek journalists beaten by mayor who walks free despite charges

November 8, 1999

The Macedonian Human Rights Movement of Canada condemns the recent attack against two journalists, ombudsman representatives and Jehovah's Witnesses in Cassandra, Halkidiki (northern Greece). A mob, led by mayor Costas Papayannis, tried to prevent local Jehovah's Witnesses from starting construction of their house of worship, work authorized by the authorities.

Although charges were pressed against the mayor and alleged accomplices, police did not make any arrests. This incident bears striking resemblance to the attack of the ethnic Macedonian Rainbow Party's office, led by the mayor of Florina, in September, 1995. Rainbow had hung a sign written in both the Greek and Macedonian languages and were subsequently charged and put on trial for "public use of their mother tongue". The perpetrators of the crime, however, have yet to be prosecuted.

It is unfortunate that, in Greece, minority groups face discriminatory treatment while attacks on these minorities continue to go unpunished.

The MHRMC calls on the Greek authorities to end their tolerance of "mob justice" and to immediately assign responsibility to the police officers who refused to carry out the arrests and to the perpetrators of the crime, the mayor of Cassandra and his accomplices.

Bill Nicholov
Macedonian Human Rights Movement of Canada
Address: P.O. Box 44532, 2376 Eglinton Ave. East, Toronto, Canada M1K 5K3
Tel: 416-493-9555 Fax: 416-412-3385
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