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Macedonian Activist Denied Entry into Greece

September 1, 2000


SOURCE: Greek Helsinki Monitor (GHM), Athens

(GHM/IFEX) - GHM strongly condemns the recurrent practice of refusing entry to Greece to Macedonian and Turkish activists and journalists labelled as "undesirable". The latest case concerns Slavko Mangovski, editor-in-chief of the weekly magazine "Makedonsko Sonce" published in Skopje. He is also known for his defence of the rights of Macedonian minorities in the Balkans.

As Mangovski wrote in a complaint he filed to the Greek ombudsman on 1 September 2000, "I wanted to enter Greece through the Evzoni border crossing on the afternoon of 25 August to visit a village festival in northern Greece. I was informed by the border authorities that there was a problem with my status after the computer check, and that if I wanted to wait they would send a fax to the Central Police in Athens and verify whether I could gain entry. After a prolonged wait, I decided to return rather then spend hours waiting. On 28 August , I attempted entry at the border crossing of Niki in order to visit another village festival. After the routine computer check, I was advised to wait and after approximately 10 minutes was summoned to the office of what appeared to be the chief of the police and given a Notification Certificate for the Refusal of Entry specifying 'other reasons' as grounds for the refusal. At the same time, a crossed stamp was placed in my U.S. passport, apparently in order to alert border authorities that I'm effectively banned from ever entering Greece."

Although no reason was provided, GHM believes that Mangovski (born in Bitola, Macedonia) is on the list of "undesirables" because of his outspoken criticism of Greek policy towards the Macedonians. It is also improper for the authorities of Greece to stamp, i.e. deface, another state's document (in this case, a U.S. passport) which makes the bearer of the latter possibly look suspect to third countries' border authorities, besides Greece and the U.S., when he attempts to enter any other country.

RECOMMENDED ACTION

Send appeals to authorities:
- denouncing the harassment of the editor and the practice of "blacklisting" as undesirable foreign writers, journalists and activists who are critical of Greek minority policy, or have family roots in Greece
- recalling that Greece, as a signatory of the OSCE documents and the Stability Pact, is committed to facilitate rather than hinder the freedom of movement across its borders with its neighbors
- stressing that the ban of entry to a media person is also a violation of the freedom of expression and a practice that only authoritarian states practice today

APPEALS TO:
George Papandreou
Foreign Minister
Athens, Greece
Fax: +30 1 36 81 433

Dimitris Reppas
Minister of Press and Information
Athens, Greece
Fax: +30 1 36 06 969
Please copy appeals to the source if possible.


     
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