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Evagoras Pallikarides (26 February 1938 - March 14, 1957) was a member of EOKA during the 1955-1959 campaign against British rule in Cyprus.

Early years

Pallikarides was born in Tsada, Paphos District, one of five children of Miltiades and Aphrodite Pallikarides. He studied at the Greek High School of Paphos where, at age 15, he participated in his school's boycott of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in June 1953.

EOKA

Due to celebrations in honor of Queen Elizabeth II's coronation, the British raised the Union Jack at all schools throughout Cyprus. Paphos was the only town where celebrations were not held because Evagoras had deliberately taken down the British flag and knew full well what the consequences of such an act would be. He carried on his resistance with demonstrations and an assault on two British soldiers. Anticipating arrest he decided to take to the mountains.

When EOKA began the struggle against British colonialism in 1955, Pallikarides took part in several anti-British demonstrations and joined EOKA when he was just 17 years old. In one of these, in November 1955, in an effort to free a friend who had been arrested, he struck a British soldier and was arrested himself. He was ordered to appear for trial but instead joined one of the many EOKA guerrilla groups that operated throughout Cyprus. Over the next year, Pallikarides participated in several guerrilla operations. Meanwhile, a reward of 5,000 pounds was put on his head by the British Army.

Pallikarides was arrested on December 18, 1956 because he was caught red-handed with his guns loaded on a donkey. The police had privately reported that he had murdered a man, considered to be a British collaborator by EOKA, although there was no evidence for this claim of murder. This was no surprise since the man who had actually carried out the shooting, his surname was Kokkinos, stepped forward from EOKA's ranks and informed General George Grivas that he wanted to hand himself in to the British Authorities to save the life of Pallikarides.[1]

"I know you will sentence me to death, but whatever I did, I did as a Cypriot who wants his liberty"
Evagoras Pallikarides, speaking during his trial where he was sentenced to death for the possession of a non working firearm[2][3]

Trial and hanging

At his trial Pallikarides did not deny possession of the weapon. He said he did what he had to do as a Greek Cypriot seeking his freedom. He was sentenced to death by hanging for firearms possession on February 27, 1957. Pallikarides was hanged on March 14, 1957, at the age of 19. A propaganda leaflet was published after the hanging with a fabricated description of how he had murdered a traitor.[4] The lawfulness of his execution has been subsequently questioned in light of the fact that the weapon held by Pallikarides at the time was not functional. A. W. B. Simpson in his book Human Rights and the End of Empire, claims that the real reason for his execution was that the authorities believed, but were unable to prove,[5] that he had earlier murdered an elderly individual who was a suspected collaborator with the British authorities.[6]

He was buried at the Imprisoned Graves in the Central Jail of Nicosia.

References

^ The Memoirs of General Grivas, by George Grivas, edited by Charles Foley, p. 121. Longmans. London. 1964
^ United States Congress, Committee on Foreign Affairs (1967). Hearings. U.S. Govt. Print. Off.. p. 15.
^ "Amendment to the Anglo-American Financial agreement.". 1957. pp. 15. Retrieved 2007-10-01.
^ The Memoirs of General Grivas, by George Grivas, edited by Charles Foley, p. 121
^ The Memoirs of General Grivas, by George Grivas, edited by Charles Foley, p. 121
^ Simpson, Alfred William Brian (2001). Human Rights and the End of Empire: Britain and the Genesis of the European Convention. Oxford University Press. pp. 876–877. ISBN 978-0199267897.

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