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Supreme Court orders immediate arrest of MPs releasing illegaly acquired footage

Supreme Court prosecutor Euterpi Koutzamani instructed Greece’s prosecutors to proceed to immediate arrest of members of the Parliament if they publish footage that was illegally obtained. Kotzamani’s instructions on Monday come amid claims by Golden Dawn MPs that they had more videotaped conversations with MPs from government and opposition parties. Last week a megaton-heavy scandal broke when Golden Dawn MP Kasidiaris published a video of casual conversation he had with Panagiotis Baltakos, close aide of PM Antonis Samaras and cabinet secretary.

Greek media report that prosecutor Kotzamani followed a request submitted by Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias to investigation the Golden Dawn allegations and the conversation Kasidiaris-Baltakos.

The Supreme Court prosecutor invokes a law of 2012 according to which MPs can be arrested if they commit felony crimes.

“if in the future anyone in any capacity repeats the use of illegally acquired audiovisual material the process of in flagrante should be initiated even if the perpetrator is an active member of the Parliament.” (in.gr)

 

At the same time, prosecutor Calliope Dagianta questioned Panagiotis Baltakos on Monday  in the context of investigated whether Kasidiaris broke privacy laws by filming the video and then making it public.

Speaking to Real FM last week, Panagiotis Baltakos said he was not aware that the conversation was filmed. However after his meeting with prosecutor Dagianta today, Baltakos allegedly told media that he had the suspicion that “he might be filmed, that during the conversation with Kasidiaris the doors were open while people were coming and going and that he was signing documents” (AlphaTV, newsit, ekathimerini, newsit.gr).

Some Greek journalists and  internet users reacted to these instructions and some asked whether they would be arrested if they would upload on their websites cartoon videos illegally obtained from video platforms.

In my humble opinion, we certainly need more clarifications on the illegally acquired video issue especially with refer to journalistic work serving the public interest.

 

 

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