Greek Journalist Arrested on Libel Charges

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Year 11 Apr 2017 Country Greece Category B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists Source of threat State Partner IPI , Index Alert level Level 1
11 Apr 2017 Greece B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists State IPI , Index Level 1
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Greek investigative journalist Kostas Vaxevanis was detained by police on libel charges after arriving voluntarily at Kallithea police station in Athens on 10 April 2017. A prosecutor later ordered his release pending preliminary investigation. The charges relate to a report published on 9 April 2017 in the newspaper Documento alleging that Stavroula Nikolopoulou-Stournara, wife of the Governor of Greece's central bank, had taken advantage of her husband's influence to secure public funding for organising medical conferences without going through a public tender. The report also raised questions about Nikolopoulou-Stournara's links to the pharmaceutical industry as well as the involvement of her husband, Yannis Stournaras, in the conferences. Nikolopoulou-Stournara, whose home was raided last year as part of an investigation into possible corruption involving Greece's Center for Disease Control and Prevention, denied the report's claims and filed libel charges against Vaxevanis. In March 2015, a court sentenced Vaxevanis to 26 months in prison for defaming a prominent Greek businessman, Andreas Vgenopoulos, as part of an investigation into the 2012 to 2013 Cyprus financial crisis. A three-judge panel of the Athens Court of Appeal unanimously overturned the conviction in September 2016.

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