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Appeal by House President for freedom in occupied Cyprus
2003-03-27 15:46:35

Nicosia, Mar 27 (CNA) -- Cyprus House of Representatives President Demetris Christofias has appealed to the UN Secretary General, the President of the European Parliament and others to exert their influence in order to secure the freedom of speech of Turkish Cypriots in the Turkish- occupied northern part of Cyprus.

The House President condemned the threatening tactics applied by the illegal Turkish Cypriot regime in occupied Cyprus, which ''detained'' six Turkish Cypriots, including a party leader and senior trade unionists, as they tried to hold a symbolic referendum on a UN peace proposal for the reunification of Cyprus, which their leadership had rejected.|

''I would greatly appreciate it if you could exercise all your influence so that these personalities and in fact all Turkish Cypriots are left free to voice their opinion and be heard without further threats or hindrance,'' a letter sent Wednesday by Christofias said.

The regime of Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash in occupied Cyprus ''faced this initiative (of holding a referendum) with its usual intransigent and oppressive tactics.''

Outlining events as they unfolded on Tuesday, Christofias said ''police forces'' attacked organisers and participants of the referendum, grabbed the ballot box and hit people with sticks.

''These defiant Turkish Cypriot representatives were doing nothing more than expressing their community's fervent wish for the reunification of our country,'' divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied the island's northern part, the letter added.

He condemned unreservedly this ''despicable act of muzzling the voices of brave Turkish Cypriots speaking for peace and reunification in Cyprus. It is an act indicative of the stand taken by the Turkish Cypriot leader and the Turkish government against any effort that would augur a peaceful future for the whole people of Cyprus.''

The Cyprus government as well as political parties and organisations have also condemned Denktash's tactics.

CNA MM/GP/2003

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