April 19, 2019
Several high-profile lawyers in Greece have recently been arrested and detained. Colleagues criticize this as arbitrary “procedural extremism” by the judiciary, and there has been a failure of the Athens Bar Association to effectively respond to these attacks. The Minister of Justice has engaged in extensive wiretapping and surveillance of lawyer-client communications, reported assassination or death contracts and reprisals against lawyers for taking on sensitive cases, leakage of files and lawyers’ communications to the press, all of which put lawyers in acute danger. Recently, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights published a report about the situation of human rights defenders that mentioned Greece among the CoE’s countries (Azerbaijan, Russia, Poland) where defenders are most harmed.
The lawyers involved are:
Alexandros Lykourezos, 85 years old, is probably the most famous Greek lawyer, his law office is one of the oldest and goes back more than 120 years. The prosecutor, instead of calling him to apologize, issued an arrest warrant as if he was a fugitive, and he had to spend the night in the police cell of the anti-terrorist unit. He is still held on the 12th floor of the General Athens Police Directorate. His lawyer says that issuing an arrest warrant against an 85 year old respected lawyer is not only illegal and breaching the presumption of innocence, but is “not sober”. Other high profile lawyers characterized it as “a crime against justice” http://lykourezoslawoffices.gr/?fbclid=IwAR0mUDsZNqBkt1dmdORp_U6TeolkHQW08CSTby_HmOjjWRu9d_uWiHy45yM