Letter: Free speech and human rights for all Macedonians in Greece

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The Independent Online
Sir: Leonard Doyle's article on the death threats issued against the Greek scholar Anastasia Karakasidou in recent days ('Death threats haunt Greek champion of the Macedonians', 10 May) serves to highlight the plight of writers and journalists who discuss the Macedonian question. Hers is the latest case - and the most alarming - in a trend of suppression of those who practise their right to free speech.

Last year a number of writers and journalists who were seen to support an independent state of Macedonia, or who acknowledged the existence of a Macedonian community in Greece, found themselves brought before court and facing prison terms. Following an international campaign protesting these legal actions, the Greek government acknowledged that to imprison people only for having views on the issue is unacceptable. By January this year all legal proceedings had been dropped.

Those who call for attacks against Ms Karakasidou do not appear to have government connections and are therefore less likely to be moved by international opinion. However, the Greek government can show its commitment to protecting the rights of those who dare to speak on the Macedonian question by providing Ms Karakasidou with protection against attack and by bringing to task those who threaten her life and by extension the lives of her two small children.

Sincerely,

JOANNE LEEDOM-ACKERMAN

Chair

Writers in Prison Committee of International PEN

London, EC1

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