OPINION

August 9, 1956

EXECUTION OF GREEK-CYPRIOT PATRIOTS: Nicosia, 9 – According to an unofficial but reliable source, the execution of three Greek patriots for anti-British activities began in a Nicosia prison shortly before 3 a.m. The three men were Ioannis Patatsos, 22, who killed a Turkish policeman, and Andreas Zakos, 25, and Harilaos Michail, 22, who took part in an ambush of a British patrol led by Brigadier Coombs. The hangings were conducted in the prison yard, which was surrounded by British soldiers armed with automatic weapons. The death penalties were confirmed two days ago by the governor of Cyprus, Field Marshal Sir John Harding. Throughout the night a deathly silence hung over Nicosia. British patrols circulated through the narrow streets where all vehicle traffic had been banned in order to prevent bomb attacks. Guard posts were set up at intersections, and pedestrians were subject to body searches. The three patriots spent their final night singing patriotic songs. (…) In Athens, the police refused to allow 200 Cypriots to kneel in prayer at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. London radio broadcast the news of the executions without any commentary at 4 a.m.