Greece: Crackdown on high-profile Greek lawyers

April 19, 2019

Image result for lawyer Theodoros Panagopoulos

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 

 

Georgios Antonopoulos also teaches civil law in the Law School of University of Athens, and he has been on remand now for three weeks. http://www.lawgreece.gr/?page=article_list&cat=1&fbclid=IwAR07rM0tTPiTV1KYhzhNaaEMJaER8yfBHRA0RXAm046GH6-Q0CZ6jh9oqsE
A woman lawyer, Chryssa Kioumourtzi,  was also placed in remand for having “close contact” with a prisoner. Intercepted communications showed that they had been flirting, and communications were leaked to the press by the authorities.  The media went into her Facebook account and retrieved private pictures. She allegedly informed the prisoner about the “spaces” in the Court of Appeals, and this was considered as participation in a criminal organization. He is reportedly in a very bad psychological condition. http://www.ereportaz.gr/ayti-einai-i-ksanthia-dikigoros-poy-profylakistike/?fbclid=IwAR38kZYF1urR_myAj2Fvi_K_0pmjbU0y7aQPPgplOIagrnCcojyARHPxV0Q
All these lawyers were arrested by the anti-terrorist police following the issuance of arrest warrants although they are highly respectable, with well-established offices and addresses.  

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