For Immediate Release: January 31, 2009
Contact: Nikolaos Taneris, New York, Tel. (917) 699-9935
NEW YORK—The Cyprus Action Network of America (CANA) has formally contacted the
International Secretariat of Amnesty International to request that the case of
our ethnic Greek brother, Australian-Cypriot, Harry Nicolaides, who is unjustly
imprisoned in Thailand for merely writing a book that criticized the King of
Thailand, or for exercising his right to freedom of expression, be adopted as an
Amnesty International ‘prisoner of conscience’. Just this past Thursday, January
29, 2009, Hellenic-American activists staged a small vigil demonstration outside
the Royal Thai Consulate in New York City, in coming weeks, we will also seek
the cooperation of like-minded communities concerned with human rights in
Thailand to join our letter writing campaign, and demonstrate in solidarity
with us outside the Royal Thai Consulate in New York City and the Thai Embassy
in Washington DC to call for the unconditional release of Harry Nicolaides.
Activism on behalf of our ethnic Greek brothers who are imprisoned anywhere in
the world is also imperative toward breaking down the barriers that separate us
as a people in the homeland and in the Diaspora. None of us may know Harry
Nicolaides personally, nor do we know his belief system, nor his family. We are
mobilizing because of the need to free Harry Nicolaides and to begin a new
movement of solidarity and concern for our Hellenic brothers and sisters,
regardless of ideology, citizenship, personal belief systems, or language
abilities. Our people for too long have been victim to a slave mentality
inherited from the Ottoman past, that makes some of us strike out at our own
brothers and sisters, sometimes this takes the form of egoism, materialism,
personal opportunism and political party loyalty. Other times its sheer cruelty
and misguided anger.
Regardless of where we are born, and how well we speak Greek, if at all, we
are all obligated to help each other, and this case will be a good start toward
ending the prejudices of i.e. the prejudices of Mainland Greeks who view
Diaspora Greeks as lower than them, for not speaking the Greek they speak, or
the bias of Mainland Greeks we have seen toward Cypriot Greeks, or toward Greeks
from anywhere outside the temporary political border of today’s Greece. We march
for the welfare of our ethnic Greek brothers who have been wronged anywhere in
the world --regardless of ideology, citizenship, personal belief systems, or
Ethnic Greek activist Ioannis Fidanakis has compiled a list of petitions, news
articles, and you tube videos that include interviews with Harry Nicolaides’
Greek-Cypriot mother and father, all filling in more background to the case,
available on his blog Enotitan Revolution:
LETTER WRITING URGENT APPEAL:
Please write your appeals in your own words. Personal letters hold more weight
than e-mails, so it's important to take the time. Draw from the key
recommendations below and borrowed from Amnesty International, and be polite in
1. Use a reasoned and respectful tone. Yes, many human rights abuses are
outrageous. But your aim is to be listened to. Assume your reader is open to
reason and a respectfully-worded appeal.
2. Use your personal voice. Our appeals gain strength when they are seen to be
coming from many concerned individuals. Include a personal reference, for
example: "As a mother of two children…," "As a student…." Express key points of
the "Recommended Actions" through your own feelings and words.
3. Base your appeals on international law, not political opinions. Human rights
are based on international laws, agreements and obligations. Effective letters
are based on these obligations. Political judgments or jargon are not effective
and can sometimes do harm.
4. Point to positive opportunities for change. Where possible, point to a
country's traditions or ideals that support human rights. Look for opportunities
to encourage further support for human rights.
5. Express your personal interest in the country. If relevant, include a brief
reference to your personal experience with the country and its peoples, such as
travel experience or studying the country’s history.
6. Be brief. Most letters can easily fit on one side of a single page. Often a
two- or three-sentence letter can be effective.
Postage abroad for a standard letter is 94 cents, and Harry Nicolaides freedom
is well worth it.
Let us know about your efforts. And try to educate more people in your own
community about this case, and encourage your friends and relatives to also
Pitsanulok Road, Dusit District,
MR. KRIT GARNJANA-GOONCHORN
Royal Thai Embassy,
1024 Wisconsin Ave.,
N.W. Washington D.C. 20007
Fax. (202) 944-3611
(Below is our Sample Letter but Please Take the time to personalize your own
I am writing to express my grave concern over the imprisonment of Harry
Nicolaides, a teacher and writer who has been imprisoned solely for exercising
his right to freedom of expression and his rights to offer opinions in writing.
I urge you to bring about his immediate and unconditional release from prison.
The right to freedom of expression is protected under the International Covenant
on Civil and Political Rights and the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights,
which Thailand has signed. Harry Nicolaides’s imprisonment appears to be a
violation of both of these legal instruments. The pervasive system of censorship
in Thailand contradicts the guarantees of freedom of expression that are
embodied in international law. I am alarmed that authorities continue to use
laws to detain journalists, dissidents and others engaged in the peaceful
exercise of their right to free expression.
The Cyprus Action Network of America (CANA) considers Harry Nicolaides an ethnic
Greek prisoner of conscience. Many Hellenes or ethnic Greeks in America and
around the world, are distressed at seeing one of our brothers imprisoned simply
for exercising his rights to freedom of expression. I respectfully call upon you
to bring about his immediate and unconditional release from prison. I urge you
to amend or repeal laws or regulations that can be used to persecute individuals
who exercise their right to freedom of expression.
Cyprus Action Network of America (CANA)
2578 Broadway #132
New York, NY 10025
New York: Tel. 917-699-9935
The Cyprus Action Network of America (CANA) is a grass-roots, not-for-profit
movement created to support genuine self-determination and human rights for the
people of Cyprus.
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