15 Mar 2018 Lvl. 1
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Alert created on: 11 Apr 2017 Greece

Greek Journalist Arrested on Libel Charges

Source of threatState
CategoryDetention and imprisonment of journalists
Partner IPI EFJ/IFJ Index
Partner IPI EFJ/IFJ Index
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.
Updates
15 Mar 2018
In February 2018, a domestic court acquitted journalist Kostas Vaxevanis of all charges in the judicial dispute with the family of the Central Bank Governor. The court accepted as true all the revelations made by the journalist, against whom the wife of the Central Bank Governor had pressed charges for defamation.
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