By Hristo Ivanovski and Zana P. Bozinovska
Translated by Zlatko Nikolovski
According to Athanassios Plevris, the Macedonians committed felony when denominating “Skopje” as “Macedonia” and the language as “Macedonian”.
Deputy Athanassios Plevris of the People’s Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party has demanded death penalties for the members of the ethnic Macedonian party “Vinozito” [Rainbow] in Greece and for the Greek Helsinki Watch. This deputy of Yeoryios Karatzaferis’ ultranationalist party has sent a written request to Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis and Justice Minister Sotirios Hadjigakis, saying that the “Vinozito” website features “a map of Europe showing Skopje denominated as Macedonia” and that Helsinki Watch, which is financed by the Greek Government, talks about the existence of a Macedonian language. This would be absolutely unacceptable, he describes the language as “Slavic”.
Furthermore, MP Plevris asks Minister Hadjigakis if he intends to sue the two organizations in line with Article 30, Paragraph 1 of the criminal code. Actually, the two organizations were violating Article 138, according to which the highest degree of penalty should be appropriate because it applies to violation of territorial integrity: “Whoever uses force or threatens to use force to secede a territory belonging to the Hellenic Republic or adjoins it to another country shall be sentenced to death,” the article states.
The last time a death penalty was executed in Greece was on 25 August 1972, when Vasilis Limbersis was shot because he had killed his wife, mother-in-law, and two children. The Greek state abolished the death penalty, except for treason and serious war crimes. Plevris asks Bakoyannis how it is possible that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs finances such “organizations serving the pro-Skopjean propaganda”. The parliament’s officers forwarded the letter to the prosecutor of the highest court. This happened on 23 April, to which “Vinozito” reacted on 23 May: “We would not be addressing this case if the justice minister’s answer had been similar to that of Foreign Minister Bakoyannis, stating that ‘Greece, as a democratic country, guarantees freedom of speech for all its citizens, which, of course, applies to the members of “Vinozito,” as well,'” stated the response of this organization under the title “Now we are awaiting maximum penalty.” According to “Vinozito,” Plevris’ request has been considered as justified by the justice minister, so Article 138 could be applied to the ethnic Macedonians.
Accused of Irredentism
„Are we back in the Civil War? We got tired repeating over and over again that we consider the issue of ethnic minorities as an internal one. On every possible occasion we state that only provocateurs can raise the issue of changing borders. The TV democracy in this country is constantly distorting our positions. The political system by force characterizes us as irredentists. Shall we face the highest penalty now?”, EFA “Vinozito” publicly asks. Greek Helsinki Committee Chairman Dimitras Panagiotis says that the activities of both ministers clearly indicate their will to attack “Vinozito” and the Greek Helsinki Committee. This confirms the fact that in Greece it is dangerous to say “Macedonian state,” “Macedonian language,” and “Macedonian minority,” despite the multiple decrees and judgments of the Council of Europe and the UN that such a position is unacceptable and violating several international treaties on human rights, Panagiotis has told Dnevnik. According to him, the fact that no political party, no medium in Greece, and no public organization has protested at this act of both the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Justice is a clear sign that both for the political system and the society the organizations addressing the rights of the Macedonians and the Turks in Greece are locked out. This shows that democracy doesn’t work when dealing with the rights of the minorities in Greece, says Panagiotis.
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