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Press; Release Regarding The Sentence Of Mehmet Emin Aga (Unofficial Translation) January 29, 1999

It has been learnt with regret that, on January 27, 1999, Mehmet Emin Aga, the elected Mufti of Xanthi, was sentenced to a 17 months in prison by the First Instant Court of Lamia for using the title of "Mufti" in several religious messages he issued in 1996.

Greece has once again violated the Athens Treaty of 1913 by sentencing the elected Mufti of Xanthi. Depriving the Turkish Muslim minority of the right to elect its religious leaders while the Greek Orthodox Church and the Jews in Greece are given such rights by the law no:590/77 and by the Law No:2456/20 respectively, is a discrimination and also a clear breach of the Article 40 of the Lausanne Treaty which obliged Greece to extend to the Turkish Minority members the same and equal treatment as to other citizens of Greece.

We condemn this illegal practice of Greece which constitutes a significant abuse of human rights.

Everyone who advocates the supremacy of law and the human rights should oppose Greece's efforts to intimidate the leaders of Turkish Minority in Western Thrace through the use of judicial mechanisms. We call upon Greece to respect the rights of the Turkish Minority of Western Thrace.