Macedonian Human Rights Movement International
Press Release
Racism and Anti-Semitism Prevail in the European Union

Greece allows neo-Nazis Macedonian Human Rights Movement International - Press Release

Toronto, Canada - MHRMI is appalled that Greece allows neo-Nazis to spread hatred and chooses instead to prosecute the human rights activists who condemn them. As reported by the Greek Helsinki Monitor (cm.greekhelsinki.gr) on December 27, 2007, there have been "...extensive attacks against and prosecution of GHM and Jewish activists who had filed criminal actions against Greece's neo-Nazis for the latter's Hitler-admiring, Holocaust-denial, anti-Semitic writings.” This culminated in the attack of GHM's spokesperson, Panayote Dimitras, during a trial on December 4, 2007, in which he was verbally and physically attacked by Theodoros Varikos, journalist at the state television channel NET. The police did not intervene and the presiding judge did not reprimand the assailant. Instead, Panayote Dimitras was advised to file a complaint at the police station, where he was told that he would be arrested because the assailant would file a counter-complaint.

Only one of the defendants, lawyer Kostas Plevris, was convicted and given a suspended prison sentence of 14 months for "incitation to racial violence and hatred and for racial insults.” The other three defendants, publisher, editor, and journalist of neo-Nazi weekly "Eleftheros Kosmo” were acquitted of the same charges. Kostas Plevris has launched several lawsuits against the people who testified against him and despite the racist and anti-Semitic statements in them, they have been registered by the Greek courts and trial dates have been set.

A member of the extreme right wing party LAOS, represented in both Greek and European Parliaments, uploaded a video of the trial on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zj0W4jz9t0A) Below the video death threats were posted "well you had Dimitras in front of you and did not lynch him?” and "death to the Jewish bastards; no Jew should remain in our country and the whole world; let us turn them into soap NOW;”

GHM noted that "no media, human rights NGO, political party or other institution reported these incidents, let alone condemn them. On the contrary, there were several cases of appeals for the acquittal of the neo-Nazis on the basis of freedom of expression.”

MHRMI president Bill Nicholov stated, "It is repulsive that in Greece, a long-time member of the European Union and so-called 'birthplace of democracy', human rights activists are prosecuted for speaking out against racism and anti-Semitism. Will the European Union finally stand up and defend the values that it claims it believes in?”

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Macedonian Human Rights Movement International (MHRMI) has been active on human rights issues for Macedonians and other oppressed peoples since 1986. Its main objective is to pursue and attain all fundamental human and national rights including the right of freedom of expression and association and to support all democratic principles for all ethnic Macedonians, and other oppressed peoples. For more information please contact MHRMI at 416-850-7125, or info@mhrmi.org.