May 7, 2003


Vienna, 07/05/2003

Rauf R. Denktash
Leader of the Turkish-Cypriot Community

Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus
By Fax: +90 392 22 722 52

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), strongly condemns the ongoing inhuman treatment of the Turkish-Cypriot journalist Shener Levent, publisher of the AVRUPA-AFRIKA newspaper.

According to information before SEEMO, on the night of Saturday, 4 May 2003, Shener Levent went to the Turkish roadblock in order to cross into the area of Nicosia, but was stopped by Turkish-Cypriot authorities in civilian clothes and not allowed to leave the so-called “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus”. Consequently, Shener Levent could not meet his colleagues from the Union of Cyprus Journalists, who were waiting for him for a scheduled meeting.

In SEEMO’s opinion, the actions of the authorities against Shener Levent are a violation of the principles of human rights treaties and other instruments, as well as international law.

Therefore, SEEMO denounces the action of the Turkish regime and supports the Cypriot journalists and people, who gathered on 6 May at the Ledra Palace checkpoint in order to demonstrate their support for Shener Levent.

SEEMO demands the immediate and unconditional release of Shener Levent and other journalists in the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus”. We further urge that your authorities respect the fundamental principles of international law and basic human rights, including the principles of freedom of opinion and expression, and the free flow of information.

We thank you for your attention.

Yours sincerely,

Oliver Vujovic

SEEMO Secretary General