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British Minister calls for respect of Turkish Cypriots' rights
2002-09-04 14:57:13

London, Sep 4 (CNA) - The British government has called on the Turkish Cypriot so-called "authorities" in the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus to ensure that the right of freedom of expression is fully respected there.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister with responsibility for Human Rights Denis MacShane made the statement responding to the recent "conviction" of two Turkish Cypriot journalists by the illegal regime in Cyprus' northern territories, occupied by Turkey since 1974.|

Sener Levent, Editor in Chief of Turkish Cypriot daily newpaper "Afrika" (formerly Avrupa) and Memduh Ener, editor of the same paper, on August 8 were "found guilty of libel" against Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, the occupation army and Turkey, in connection with an article Ener wrote on 29 July 1999, and imposed on each of them a six-month "jail sentence".

The "imprisonment" of the two journalists followed a series of harassment acts by the occupation regime against the newspaper and its journalists.

MacShane said he was "deeply disappointed to learn of the imprisonment" of the two Turkish Cypriot journalists, noting that "the British government has made representations about their case".

"I condemn all attacks on press freedom and call upon the Turkish Cypriot authorities to ensure that these two men's and all Turkish Cypriots' right to freedom of expression is fully respected", the British diplomat says, noting he will continue to follow this case closely.

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