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Government condemns arrest of T/C publisher, Sener Levent
2003-05-05 18:50:29

Nicosia, May 5 (CNA) - The Cyprus government condemned here Monday the arrest in the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus of Turkish Cypriot journalist Sener Levent. It also condemned the occupation regime for barring Levent from crossing into the free areas of the Republic, describing the incident as ''another example of the continued occupation and dictatorship of Cypriot citizens by the occupation regime''.

Government Spokesman Kypros Chrisostomides said that the government ''supports Mr. Levent's efforts for free movement in the territory of the Republic of Cyprus and will back any decision by Levent to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights, based on the case of Turkish Cypriot Ahmet Djavit'', where Turkey was found guilty of violating his human rights to peaceful assembly by refusing him permission to visit Cyprus' southern government-controlled areas and the UN-controlled buffer zone to meet with Greek Cypriots.|

''The government will support his (Levent's) every effort because it considers that what happened is a major example of dictatorship and occupation attitude'', the Spokesman added.

The Union of Cyprus Journalists, in a statement, condemned and ''strongly stigmatised the continued, inhuman attitude of the Ankara and Denktash occupation regime towards Turkish Cypriot activist and journalist.

It said the regime insists on keeping Levent ''a hostage and captive in the occupied areas, provocatively violating every sense of international law and fundamental principles and rules of international conventions on human rights and freedoms''.

The Union said that on Tuesday it is organising a mass gathering where journalists will show their solidarity towards their Turkish Cypriot colleague.

Levent went to the Ledra Palace checkpoint yesterday to cross into the government-controlled areas to meet UCJ President Andreas Kannaouros. However, occupation regime ''policemen'' stopped him, alleging his exit from the illegal regime was prohibited.

The Turkish Cypriot journalist reacted to the decision and strongly protested, noting that last Friday he crossed the checkpoint without problems. He also said the Denktash regime was illegal. The occupation forces said Levent ''escaped their attention'' on Friday and crossed into the free areas.

Levent appealed to UCJ representatives who were waiting for him, and asked them to convey to Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos his appeal that as a citizen of the Republic of Cyprus representations should be made to the European Court of Human Rights and other European and international organisations and bodies, condemning his criminal captivity by an illegal regime and demanding restoration of his freedom and rights as an equal citizen of the internationally recognised Cyprus state.

The statement said the UCJ board has appealed to President Papadopoulos and the government, and has received assurances that all actions will be taken without any delay.

The Union further appealed to the House of Representatives, organisations, human rights' committees in Cyprus and Turkish Cypriot political parties and journalists' organisations, calling on them to take immediate steps in condemning Levent's captivity and demanding respect of his human rights.

It will also make representations to the UN, the EU and permanent members of the UN Security Council on the island, as well as the International and European Federation of Journalists, the International Press Institute and other organisations.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third.

CNA/MK/DN/EC/RG/2003
ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
05/05/2003

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