The Panepirotic Federation of America mourns the death of human rights activist Theodoros Bezianis, a fierce champion of the ethnic Greek minority in
Albania, who died in an automobile accident last week near his home in Northern Epiros. He was 81.
Mr. Bezianis was returning home after showing some American visitors the Pogoni region when his car skidded off the road into a deep gulley, turned over three times and landed in a ditch. He was killed instantly.
“Theodoros Bezianis was was a tireless human rights activist who risked his freedom and his life to end the discrimination and persecution of the ethnic Greek minority in Albania,” Nicholas Gage, the president of the Panepirotic Federation said. “His death is a great loss to the cause to which he dedicated his life.”
A founder of Omonia, the organization formed after the collapse of communism in Albania to advance the rights of the minority, Mr. Bezianis was one of five Omonia leaders arrested, tortured and sentenced to death on bogus charges of treason in 1994 for his defense of ethnic Greeks. The Omonia Five prisoners were released ten months later after an international outcry organized by the Federation against their false imprisonment.
“Despite the suffering he endured in prison, Theodoros Bezianis, continued to battle against all injustices committed by Albanian authorities against ethnic Greeks through the newspaper he founded Orama (Vision), his work with Omonia and his involvement with international human rights organizations,” Mr. Gage said.
The respect he gained for his efforts even among Albanian authorities is a major factor that three Albanian prime ministers have appointed his daughter, Konstantina, as director of the state committee on minorities in Albania for the past ten years.
The officers and members of the Panepirotic Federation of America extend their deepest sympathies to his family and to the ethnic Greek minority of Alabnia for their great loss. May his memory be eternal.