Greece
30.01.14
Urgent Interventions

Ongoing judicial harassment against human rights defender Mr. Panayote Dimitras

CASE GRE 300114
HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS
Judicial harassment

TheInternational Secretariat of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT)requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Greece.

Brief description of the situation:

TheInternational Secretariat of OMCT has been informed by the Greek HelsinkiMonitor (GHM), a member of OMCT SOS-Torture network, about the ongoing judicialharassment against Mr. Panayote Dimitras, GHM Spokesperson anda member of OMCT General Assembly.


Accordingto the information received, on January 14, 2014, Mr. Panayote Dimitras receivedan indictment from the Misdemeanours Prosecutor of Athens, summoning him onFebruary 27, 2014 before the 9th Chamber of the Three-MembersMisdemeanours Court to stand trial on charges of “perjury” (article 224 of theCriminal Code) against and “defamation” (articles 362 and 363 of the CriminalCode) of Mr. Konstantinos Plevris, a member lawyer of the AthensBar Association.

Mr.Dimitras is accused of having knowingly committed perjury and made a falsestatement as he was questioned as a witness before the First Chamber of theFive Members Appeals Court of Athens on January 23, 2009, during a hearing of acase against Mr. Konstantinos Plevris, who then stood accused of violatingarticles 1 paragraphs 1 and 2 of Law 927/1979 “on punishing acts or activities aiming at racialdiscrimination”[1].During the hearing, Mr. Dimitras testified that “during thelast two months Mr. Plevris ha[d] threatened [his]life”. Yet the indictment accuses Mr. Dimitras of making a false statement thatcould harm the honour and reputation of Mr. Plevris while knowing that it wasuntrue.

The InternationalSecretariat of OMCT is concerned that Mr. Panayote Dimitras received thisindictment merely one week before the charges become time-barred. Although theevents took place in January 2009 and a preliminary investigation took place inFebruary 2010, suddenly charges are pressed and Mr. Dimitras is referred totrial. In addition, as Mr. Dimitras was summoned before the five-yearprescription period, which was ending on January 23, 2014, the prescriptionperiod is now extended by three years.


OMCT is concerned about these new acts ofharassment against Mr. Panayote Dimitras, which seems to merely aim atsanctioning his human rights activities, and in particular his activitiesagainst discrimination, anti-Semitism and minority rights in Greece, and callsupon the Greek authorities to ensure that he is able to carry out his legitimateactivities without any hindrance and fear of reprisals.


OMCTrecalls that this is not the first time that Mr. Panayote Dimitras is facingjudicial harassment by Mr. Konstantinos Plevris, who has been referred to trialseveral times for, among others, violation of [anti-racism] Law 927/79,concurrent aggravated defamation, and false accusation following GHM complaints[2].

Action requested:

Please write to the authorities in Greece, urging them to:

i. Put an end to any kind of harassment - including at the judiciallevel - against Mr. Panayote Dimitras and more generally against allhuman rights defenders in Greece;


ii.Ensure in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Greece are ableto carry out their legitimate activities without any hindrance and fear ofreprisals;

iii.Conform to the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders,adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998,especially:

-its Article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually and inassociation with others, to promote and to strive for the protection andrealisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national andinternational levels”, as well as

-its Article 12.2, which provides that the State shall “take all necessarymeasures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone,individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats,retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any otherarbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of his orher rights”;

iv.Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedomsin accordance with international human rights standards and internationalinstruments ratified by Greece.

Addresses:


· Mr. Antonis Samaras, Prime Minister, Prime Minister’s Office at theHellenic Parliament, Greek Parliament Blgd, Constitution Square, Athens,Greece. Fax: + 30 210 3238129, Email: pressoffice@primeminister.gr

· Mr. EvangelosVenizelos, Ministerof Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 1st Vas. Sofias Av. 106 71Athens, Greece, Fax: +30 210 368 1717, Email: info@mfa.gr

· Mr. CharalamposAthanassiou, Ministerof Justice, Ministry of Justice, Transparency and Human Rights, Mesogeion 96Av., 11527 Athens, Greece, Fax: +30 2107755835 E-mail: minjust@justice.gr

· H.E. Ambassador Alexandros Alexandris, Permanent Mission of Greece tothe United Nations in Geneva, Rue du Léman 4, 1201 Geneva Switzerland, Fax: +4122 7322150. Email: missionofgreece@bluewin.ch

· Permanent Mission of Greece to the European Union, Rue Jacques deLalaing 19-21, 1404, Brussels, Belgium, Fax: +32 25515651, Email: mea.bruxelles@rp-greece.be

Please also write to the diplomaticrepresentations of Greece in your respective countries.

***

Geneva, January 30, 2014

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of thisappeal in your reply.

[1]Section 1.1:
a) to wilfully and publicly, either orally or by the press or bywritten texts or through pictures or any other means, incite to acts oractivities which may result in discrimination, hatred or violence againstindividuals or groups of individuals on the sole grounds of the latter’s racialor national origin or [by virtue of article 24 of Law 1419/1984] religion;(...)
b) to express publicly, either orally or by the press or by written textsor through pictures or any other means offensive ideas against any individualor group of individuals on the grounds of the latter’s racial or nationalorigin or religion.

Section1.2: Constitution or
membership of an organisation whose aim is to organisepropaganda or activities of any nature involving racial discrimination.

[2]See OMCT Urgent Appeal CASE GRE 040408.2, issued on September 17, 2008: http://www.omct.org/human-rights-defenders/urgent-interventions/greece/2008/09/d19562/ as well as OMCT Urgent Appeal CASE GRE 040408.3, issued on September 21, 2010: http://www.omct.org/human-rights-defenders/urgent-interventions/greece/2010/09/d20914/

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