ALBANIA: Treatment of Albanian journalist Gazmend Kapllani

ALBANIA, ALBANIA, 16/05/2003, 14:30

To:

Mr. Michalis Chrysochoidis
The Minister of Public Order
Fax: + 30 210 691 7944

Mr. Constantine Skandalidis
The Interior Minister
Fax: +30 210 364 1048  

Athens

Greece  

Your Excellency,

The Vienna-based South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), a network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in South East Europe and an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI), is deeply concerned about the treatment of Albanian journalist Gazmend Kapllani who lives and works in Greece.

Kapllani is of Albanian origin and has lived in Greece as a legal resident for more than 10 years. He is a columnist for the Greek newspaper, Ta Nea, and also produces regular programmes for migrants on the state radio station NET 105.8. In addition, he often writes for the Albanian newspaper, Koha Jone. At the same time, he is a Ph.D. candidate at the Panteion University in Athens.

According to the information before SEEMO, Kapllani applied for the renewal of his residence permit on 26 February 2002 and received an answer one year later on 27 February 2003. His request was refused after the Ministry of Public Order intervened with the Immigration Office indicating that Kapllani was considered to be a "dangerous person for public order and the national security of Greece". The police have never substantiated this serious accusation.

After several public interventions in Greece, on 11 March 2003, the Secretary General of the Ministry of Public Order, Mr. Eystadiades told Kapllani that the matter would be resolved in a few days. However, on 15 March, Kapllani was arrested in his home by two policemen who did not possess an arrest warrant. Subsequently, he was sent to the prison for foreigners in the Kolono district of Athens. The Greek authorities had the

clear intention of deporting him because without a residence permit he was residing in Greece illegally. Once again, there were interventions on his behalf and he was released.

Furthermore, SEEMO is informed that the Ministry of Public Order still refuses to reverse its unsubstantiated belief that Kapllani is a dangerous person.

Therefore, SEEMO urges Your Excellency to do everything in your power to examine this case urgently, to publicly explain the reason for labeling Kapllani a "dangerous person for public order and the national security of Greece", and to provide evidence for the allegations. SEEMO also invites the Immigration Office to solve the  problem of Kapllani's status in Greece as soon as possible.

We thank you for your attention.

Yours sincerely,

Oliver Vujovic
SEEMO Secretary General

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