The shock for the five shepherds from Crete was big, when they saw their picture in an article with the non-flattering title “Drug-dealing shepherds set up Crete crime empire“. The article including the picture was written by British war correspondent Colin Freeman and was published in UK newspaper Daily Telegraph in 2008. The report from the island on Crete was about the Zoniana area, what Freeman describes as a picturesque village that ”has earned the area the unlikely title of ‘the Greek Colombia’, where shepherds grow marijuana.
However the shepherds on the picture had nothing to do with Zoniana, they were from Heraklion and Rethymnon and were visiting Zoniana to attend a wedding there. The shepherds legally turned against the newspaper and the reporter and sued them, believing that the article showing them in connection with the ‘mafia’ of Zoniana, was slander and libel. Furthermore they claimed the picture, showing them sitting at the stairs of the local Heroes’ Monument of Zoniana, was taken without their knowledge.
The five shepherds were stunned to hear from relatives and friends that the picture with their faces was “featured” in an extensive defamatory publication on “Greek Colombia”. Indeed, because they wear black clothes, the photo caption reads: “The men wear black shirts, symbols of independence and defiance to the world.”
The affected farmers, unfortunately one died shortly after the complain,t are family men and reliable professionals who never had any problems with the authorities.
As stated in the indictment, this publication is a violation of their pride but also questions their moral and social value, that is contempt of their person
The legal case will be in the Misdemeanors Court in Athens. The proud Cretans will be content to welcome the editor in chief and the reporter of Sunday Telegraph.