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March 7, 2013

Step Back in Time: March 7, 2013

Step Back in Time features news items from The Daily Star 25 and 50 years ago.

25 years ago

March 7,Text ColorSwatch/NoneStrokeStyle/$ID/SolidText ColorSwatch/NoneStrokeStyle/$ID/Solid$ID/NothingText ColorText Color$ID/NothingText ColorText Color 1988

More than 500 letters sent to the Greek government by the local chapter of Amnesty International probably contributed to the early release of a political prisoner there.

David Hatzinikoladu-Raptis, a Jehovah’s Witness and conscientious objector, was sent to prison in November of 1985 after refusing to serve in the Greek military on religious grounds, said Alan Sessions, a spokesman for Amnesty International Group 195.

The law allows conscientious objectors to serve in unarmed positions.

However, it was against the religious beliefs of Hatzinikoladu-Raptis to serve in an organization that promotes war, Sessions said. The Greek was sentenced to four years in prison.

Hatzinikoladu-Raptis was adopted by the local Amnesty International, which has members from Delaware and Otsego counties. After his adoption, 20 to 30 people sent letters to the Greek government for his release. He was released recently after serving two and a half years.

Rep. Sherwood Boehlert, who also wrote letters to the Greek government urging the prisoner’s release, is looking into the exact date he left the prison, said Sessions.

Also, a group in France put pressure on for the prisoner’s release through letter-writing to the European Parliament.

Sessions said Hatzinikoladu-Raptis’ prison sentence was in violation of a United Nations declaration of human rights stating the government should not prevent citizens from practicing their religion.

50 years ago

March 7,Text ColorSwatch/NoneStrokeStyle/$ID/SolidText ColorSwatch/NoneStrokeStyle/$ID/Solid$ID/NothingText ColorText Color$ID/NothingText ColorText Color 1963

Buddha’s likeness came to America, probably sometime in 1943, in a Japanese ammunition case packed in grass plucked from a Burmese field, after nearly circling the globe.

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