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Greece: Human rights activists face attacks and court actions by neo-Nazis

Extensive attacks against and prosecution of Greek Helsinki Monitor(GHM) and Jewish activists who filed criminal actions against Greece’s neo-Nazis.

January 14, 2008

Source: http://www.euromedrights.net/pages/511/news/focus/50433

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Human Rights ActivistsOn 4 December 2007, GHM’s Spokesperson Panayote Dimitras testified at a trial against the extreme-right newspaper “Eleftheros Kosmos” that published articles in conjunction of the anti-Semitic book by Kostas Plevris , “The Jews – The whole truth” (May 2006).

During Mr. Dimitras’ testimony, K. Plevris and his lawyer verbally attacked the witness. As soon as the testimony was finished, he was further attacked by Theodoros Varikos, journalist at the state television channel NET. He insulted P. Dimitras and tried to strike him with his hand. Although this happened right in front of the bench, while the court was still in session, the presiding judge did not order the arrest of the assailant for disruption of court proceedings.

In the evening of that day, a video was uploaded on the internet showing the attack against P. Dimitras. Below the video, insults and death threats were posted, as well as anti-Semitic messages. Then, after the verdict (Plevris was sentenced to a 14-month sentence and appealed) more threatening messages against Mr. Dimitras were posted on an internet forum.

From the time the defendants were first summoned to testify all the way up to and after the trial, they engaged in a series of insulting, defamatory, threatening and often racist statements. Moreover, K. Plevris launched a series of legal actions against Mr. Dimitras and GHM activist Andrea Gilbert and the four members of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KIS) Moses Konstantinis, Benjamin Albala, Abraham Reitan, and Leon Gavriilidis who had testified against him. Although these lawsuits contain racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic statements, the Greek courts have surprisingly registered them and have even set trial dates in 2008.

The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network

- Calls up the Greek justice to vigilance considering that freedom of expression must not be a shelter for ideas inciting to violence and hatred.
- Alerts the European Union regarding the degradation of the working conditions of human rights activists in Greece and the tense environment in which they operate.
- Reiterates its full support to the activists who fight against racism and anti-Semitism.

 
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