New Acts of Harassment Against
Mr Panayote Dimitras
WORLD ORGANISATION AGAINST TORTURE
8, rue du Vieux Billard Case postale 21 1211 Geneva
Tel: + 41 22 809 49 39 Telefax: +41 22 809 4929 Email:
New acts of harassment against Mr. Panayote Dimitras,
GHM Spokesperson and a member of OMCT Assembly of Delegates
CASE GRE 040408.2
Follow up of Cases GRE 040408 and GRE 040408.1
HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS
Geneva, 17 September 2008
The International Secretariat of the World Organisation
Against Torture (OMCT) has received new information
and requests your URGENT intervention in the following
situation in Greece.
The International Secretariat of OMCT has been informed
by the Greek Helsinki Monitor (GHM), a member of OMCT
SOS-Torture network, about new acts of harassment against
Mr. Panayote Dimitras, GHM Spokesperson and a member
of OMCT Assembly of Delegates.
According to the information received, on 12 September
2008, the trial on appeal of the extreme-right newspaper
Eleftheros Kosmos staff convicted on first instance
to a suspended seven months sentence for violation of
the [anti-racism] Law 927/79 for an anti-Semitic comment
was heard before the First Three-Member Athens Appeals
At approximately 10:30 am, during the first recess of
the hearing while the judges were conferring in chambers,
Mr. Konstantinos Plevris, a member lawyer of the Athens
Bar Association, approached Mr. Panayote Dimitras and
told him: "though I like you, you have started to annoy
me and you will feel what fascism means, because as
you know I have declared that I am a fascist". Following
GHM complaints, Mr. Konstantinos Plevris has been referred
to trial four times for violation of [anti-racism] Law
927/79, concurrent aggravated defamation, and false
accusation (See background information).
On 16 July 2008, Mr. Konstantinos Plevris had already
defamed Mr. Panayote Dimitras when he presented his
defense deposition before the Misdemeanours Prosecutor
of Athens (via the 10th Athens Magistrate), following
the complaint filed by Mr. Dimitras and Ms. Andrea Gilbert,
GHM specialist on anti-Semitism (See background information).
In his deposition, the lawyer explicitly defamed Mr.
Dimitras, accusing him of being "a wretched traitor
of Greece, actively and publicly supporting the existence
of a Macedonian minority in this country" and of being
"the object of a complaint for treason against the Fatherland",
adding that "he has turned into a profession the filing
of complaints against Prosecutors - e.g. Mr. Sanidas
[the Supreme Court Prosecutor], Supreme Court Deputy
Prosecutor Mr. Kanellopoulos, etc. - and against our
Fatherland before international organisations". Mr.
Plevris then said that Ms. Gilbert was "a Jewish-American
who boasts of representing homosexual women, meaning
that she is a psychologically defective, sexually perverted
person who, as she does not respect her female nature,
does not respect the truth either". Mr. Plevris ended
his deposition, stating, "in no way [he would] accept
to come into contact with these national traitorous
and antisocial elements".
The International Secretariat of OMCT expresses its
deep concern about these new acts of harassment against
Mr. Panayote Dimitras, which seems to merely aim at
sanctioning his human rights activities, in particular
his activities against discrimination, anti-Semitism
and minority rights in Greece.
The International Secretariat of OMCT also recalls
that according to Article 12.2 of the United Nations
Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the
UN General Assembly on December 9, 1998, "the State
shall take all necessary measures 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 other arbitrary action as a consequence
of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred
to in the present Declaration".
On 13 December 2007, Second Three-Member Appeals Court
of Athens convicted Mr. Konstantinos Plevris to a suspended
prison sentence of 14 months for "incitation to racial
violence and hatred and for racial insults". The other
three defendants - the publisher, editor, and journalist
of Eleftheros Kosmos - were acquitted of the same charges.
Mr. Plevris appealed the sentence.
Subsequent to the end of the trial, Mr. Plevris launched
a series of legal actions for defamation and perjury
against Mr. Dimitras, as well as against Ms. Andrea
Gilbert and Messrs. Moses Konstantinis, Benjamin Albala,
Abraham Reitan and Leon Gavriilidis, four members of
the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (Kentriko
Israilitiko Symvoulio - KIS), who had all testified
against him. As of September 2008, this criminal complaint
was still in the phase of preliminary investigation,
which, according to the law should not last more than
Besides, Mr. Plevris also filed a complaint against
GHM claiming it is redundant, illegal and implying its
members are foreign agents. His complaints include again
racist and defamatory comments. Nevertheless, the Chief
Prosecutor of the First Instance Court of Athens and
in one case the Chief Prosecutor of the Appeals Misdemeanors
Court of Athens have decided that these criminal complaints
were not completely unfounded, and launched preliminary
On 16 January 2008, the Single-Member First Instance
Court of Athens (Interim Measures) rejected the application
lodged by Mr. Kostas Plevris requesting interim measure
to freeze the assets of Ms. Andrea Gilbert.
Furthermore, regarding the second complaint lodged
by Mr. Plevris against GHM and other NGOs, claiming
that they are "redundant and illegal", and implying
they are "foreign agents", the Prosecutor in charge
launched an ex officio preliminary investigation only
against GHM. In a first statement on 26 September 2007,
Mr. Dimitras had called the investigation abusive as,
inter alia, it did not specify the alleged criminal
activities. Then, on February 21, 2008, the Prosecutor
sent again the file, this time mentioning one legal
provision for the investigation: Article 4 of the European
Convention on the Recognition of the Legal Personality
of International Non-Governmental Organisations, which
states that "In each party the application of this Convention
may only be excluded if the NGO invoking this Convention,
by its object, its purpose or the activity which it
actually exercises: a) contravenes national security,
public safety, or is detrimental to the prevention of
disorder or crime, the protection of health or morals,
or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others;
or b) jeopardises relations with another State or the
maintenance of international peace and security". This
intervened just after GHM won its sixth case in nine
months at the European Court of Human Rights - ECtHR
(violation of religious freedom with the religious oath
before the courts - four previous cases concerned police
violence and one excessive length of proceedings).
As Mr. Dimitras noted in his 6 March 2008 statement
to the magistrate, this provision or the related law
does not include any sentence so as to be investigated
during a criminal procedure, but may be used for a possible
withdrawal of the recognition of GHM in a civil procedure.
No real or alleged GHM action was listed by the Prosecutor
that could have been the basis of the investigation.
On the contrary, the Prosecutor asked for information
of the administrative and financial functioning of GHM,
including its income. Such questions were included in
Mr. Plevris' complaint that triggered the investigation.
In his statement, Mr. Dimitras filed for the exemption
of the Prosecutor from the investigation for his partiality
as he recalled that the same Prosecutor had filed two
GHM complaints in the past in a manner that had led
GHM then to challenge his impartiality. In one of them,
the Prosecutor had shelved the investigation of GHM
claims that there was an improper investigation into
the death of Mr. Gentjan Celnku in 2001: in July 2007,
the ECtHR convicted Greece for the violation of Article
2 of ECHR both in its substantive and in its procedural
limb, finding that "there was no effective investigation
into the fatal shooting".
On 21 April 2008, a judicial council rejected Mr. Dimitras'
application for exemption (decision 1148/2008), after
a multiple unlawful procedure with the main argument
that Mr. Dimitras was not entitled to seek an exemption
as he was not a suspect, even though he had twice been
lawfully summoned to, and did, testify as a suspect.
As a result he was "convicted to pay the judicial expenses
of 85 euros". There is no effective remedy to this decision.
On 7 May 2008, Mr. Dimitras notified the Prosecutor
and the President of the First Instance Court of all
the reasons that made that decision illegal. There has
been no answer or other action following that notification.
In October 2007, Mr. Plevris filed a complaint report
against Mr. Dimitras claiming that, with texts that
he wrote on the Macedonian minority in Greece - which
include references to the European Commission against
Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) and United Nations (UN)
Treaty Bodies concerns and recommendations on the matter
- he violated Article 138 paragraph 1 of the Criminal
Code, which states: "one who attempts by force or by
threat of force to detach from the Greek State territory
belonging to it or to include territory of the Greek
State in another state shall be punished by death" (another
article commutes death sentences to life sentences).
The Chief Prosecutor of the First Instance Court of
Athens decided that the criminal complaint was not completely
unfounded, and launched a related proprio motu preliminary
criminal investigation against Mr. Dimitras. More than
nine months later, the complaint is still in the phase
of preliminary investigation.
Furthermore, an extreme right wing LAOS MP, Mr. Adonis
Georgiadis, tabled in January and March 2008 two questions
before Parliament demanding the investigation of GHM
by the tax authorities. Although the objective criteria
for the selection of those who are submitted to tax
audits do not include audits at the request of MP's,
the Minister of Economy has asked three tax offices
to launch such audits: in addition to the one corresponding
to the seat of GHM, the not competent tax offices corresponding
to the postal office box address and to the GHM annex
address have been involved. OMCT notes that the MP who
tabled the question is the co-publisher of Mr. Plevris
neo-Nazi book and a witness in the complaint of Mr.
Plevris against GHM and KIS. Mr. Georgiadis' first question,
moreover, was tabled the day after he was summoned to
testify in the framework of a complaint for defamation,
perjury and anti-Semitism filed by Mr. Dimitras against
him for Mr. Georgiadis' sworn witness testimony. Mr.
Georgiadis invoked his parliamentary immunity so as
not to testify but then tabled the question. In the
end of August 2008, Ms. Antonia Papadopoulou, a GHM
member, was also called by the competent tax office
for an audit "in the framework of the investigation
of GHM", as she was told.
Finally, another extreme right wing LAOS MP, Mr. Thanos
Plevris, son, professional and political associate of
Mr. Kostas Plevris, also tabled a question in April
2008, asking the Minister of Justice to invoke his right
to ask for a criminal investigation against the Macedonian
minority political party "Rainbow" and GHM for violation
of Article 138 paragraph 1 of the Criminal Code, with
the same arguments of his father's complaint report
(see above). The Minister used his right by referring
the matter to the Prosecutor of the Supreme Court, because
he considered the matter urgent and very important;
the Prosecutor was still reviewing the request by mid-August
Please write to the Greek authorities, urging them
i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and
psychological integrity of Mr. Panayote Dimitras, Ms.
Andrea Gilbert, Ms. Antonia Papadopoulou and Messrs.
Moses Konstantinis, Benjamin Albala, Abraham Reitan
and Leon Gavriilidis, as well as members of the Macedonian
minority party "Rainbow";
ii. Put an end to all acts harassment, including at
the judicial level, against Mr. Panayote Dimitras, Ms.
Andrea Gilbert, Ms. Antonia Papadopoulou and Messrs.
Moses Konstantinis, Benjamin Albala, Abraham Reitan
and Leon Gavriilidis, as well as all human rights defenders
iii. Conform with the provisions of the UN Declaration
on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly
on December 9, 1998, especially its Article 1, which
states that "everyone has the right, individually and
in association with others, to promote and to strive
for the protection and realisation of human rights and
fundamental freedoms at the national and international
levels", as well as above-mentioned Article 12.2;
iv. More generally, ensure in all circumstances the
respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in
accordance with international and regional human rights
instruments ratified by Greece.
· Mr. Kostas Karamanlis, Prime Minister, Prime Minister's
Office at the Hellenic Parliament, Greek Parliament
Blgd, Constitution Square, Athens, Greece. Fax: +30
210 3238129, Email: Mail@primeminister.gr
· Ms. Dora Bakoyannis, Foreign Minister, Athens, Greece,
Fax: + 30 210 36 81 433, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
· Mr. Sotiris Hatzigakis, Minister of Justice, Athens,
Greece, Fax +30 2107489231
· Mr. Giorgos Kaminis, Ombudsman for Human Rights,
Fax 30 210 7289643
· H.E. Franciscos Verros, Ambassador, Permanent Mission
of Greece to the United Nations in Geneva, Rue du Léman
4, 1201 Geneva, Switzerland, Email: email@example.com,
Fax: +41 22 732.21.50
· Diplomatic Mission of Greece to the European Union,
25 rue Montoyer, 1000 Brussels, Belgium, Fax: + 32 2
512 79 12 / + 32 2 551 56 51.
Please also write to the embassies of Greece in your
Geneva, 17 September 2008
Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the
code of this appeal in your reply.
 See background information.
 Ms. Gilbert had
testified at a trial against Eleftheros Kosmos, which
had published articles on 27 October 2006 in conjunction
of the anti-Semitic book by Mr. Plevris, The Jews -
The whole truth (May 2006). In this book, Mr. Plevris
glorifies Hitler and calls for the extermination of