GREEK FO MIN AND MENTOR OF FORMER COMMUNIST YOUTH LEADER ALEXIS TSIPRAS GETS JUDGES TO SHUT DOWN MAGAZINE, OVER “FANATICAL STALINIST” CHARACTERIZATION. Kotzias co authored a Communist propaganda book with a Stasi agent


Kerin Hope in Athens writes for The Financial Times “Fears for the independence of the Greek judicial system are mounting after the foreign minister won a court order freezing the bank accounts of a leading magazine over a reader’s letter describing him as a former “fanatical” Stalinist.” Only to be promptly attacked herself by Greece’s Foreign Minister Nikos Kozias, who tutored Alexis Tsipras when he was a Young Communist Leader, and who co wrote a propaganda book with an East German Stasi agent.

https://www.ft.com/content/b1e23838-779a-11e7-90c0-90a9d1bc9691

https://www.nzz.ch/international/griechenlands-duennhaeutiger-aussenminister-vorwurf-der-beispiellosen-luegen-an-die-financial-times-ld.1310091

https://rsf.org/en/greece

http://www.ekathimerini.com/220861/article/ekathimerini/news/academics-protest-kotziass-action-against-publication

From the Greek Reporter

The ruling was sharply criticized by academics and public figures, who say it violates European Union law on freedom of expression, the paper said, amid growing attacks by Kotzias’ party, heavily Communist-ridden Radical Left SYRIZA of Premier Alexis Tsipras, a former Communist youth leader.

Mr Kotzias, 66, is a divisive figure in Greece. The Germany-educated intellectual once co-authored a propaganda book with a top agent of the Stasi, the intelligence agency in East Germany. In Athens Mr Kotzias tutored members of the communist youth movement, among them Alexis Tsipras, now the prime minister.

After Syriza came to power in 2015 he become the party’s intellectual mentor. He has denied accusations that he worked as a Stasi agent in Greece, arguing in a 2015 media interview that he was ordered by Greek and East German Communist party officials to “write things that were nonsense”.

http://greece.greekreporter.com/2017/08/10/foreign-ministry-statement-blasts-ft-article-on-minister-kotzias-legal-win/

From The National Herald

Kotzias’ ‘Fanatical’ Stalinist Verdict Could Close Greek Magazine
TNH Staff August 9, 2017

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias. (AP Photo/J. David Ake)

ATHENS – A court ruling freezing the bank accounts of a leading Greek magazine over a reader’s letter describing Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias as a “fanatical” Stalinist – which can’t be appealed – is aimed at shutting it down and stifling free speech, the owners said.

The case developed from the letter in the the Athens Review of Books in 2010 that described the minister as having once been “the most extreme, fanatical, cruel and relentless communist of our generation, a true gauleiter [petty official] of Stalinism”.

The Supreme Court convicted Manolis and Maria Vasilakis, the magazine’s owners, on defamation charges and awarded Kotzias €22,000 ($25,804) in damages and ordered its bank account seized on his Kotzias’ demand. They said he wanted their business shuttered, The Financial Times reported in an account of the case.

The ruling was sharply criticized by academics and public figures, who say it violates European Union law on freedom of expression, the paper said, amid growing attacks by Kotzias’ party, heavily Communist-ridden Radical Left SYRIZA of Premier Alexis Tsipras, a former Communist youth leader.

Unable to appeal in Greek courts, where prosecutors can otherwise seek out judges to pursue cases, as in the recent conviction of twice-cleared former national statistics ELSTAT chief Andreas Georgiou, Vasilakis said he would appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.

Kotzias is a former senior member of the Greek Communist party, which retains its Stalinist ideology, wouldn’t speak to the paper.

The court issued a unanimous 5-0 verdict against the magazine after Penelope Zontanou, the Supreme Court rapporteur, who originally called for the case to be dismissed in 2016 after arguing Kotzias’s claim violated European human rights law and the Greek constitution, reversed her position without explanation.

“It’s unprecedented for a member of the Supreme Court to reverse themselves like this without a strong legal argument,” a top Greek judge said who was not named told FT after the decision was released..

Vasilakis said his dispute with the foreign minister reflected the “problematic state” of Greece’s judicial system. “This case goes beyond a personal dispute. The real enemy is the current government, which doesn’t believe in a democratic system of checks and balances,” he said.

The Greek Union of Judges and Prosecutors demanded that SYRIZA ministers – backed by Tsipras, who tried to set a limit on private TV stations – stop attacking the judiciary and questioning rulings unfavorable to the government.

Deputy Justice Minister Dimitris Papangelopoulos, disregarding separation of the judiciary and executive, said the union’s members “has recently demonstrated an attitude that is strongly anti-government and also inward-looking . . . Does it not realize that the public’s trust in justice has declined sharply in recent years?” without citing a single example.

Kotzias, 66, is a German-educated intellectual who co-authored a propaganda book with a top agent of the Stasi, the intelligence agency in East Germany behind brutal repression under the Soviet regime.

He once tutored Tsipras and other members of the Communist youth movement in Greece although neither belong to the KKE Communist party which is largely irrelevant. Kotzias denied that he was a Stasi agent in Greece arguing in a 2015 media interview that he was ordered by Greek and East German Communist party officials to “write things that were nonsense” without explaining why he did.

https://www.thenationalherald.com/171574/kotzias-fanatical-stalinist-verdict-close-greek-magazine/

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