Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Greece Moves Quickly to Put Editor on Trial

by Rachel Donadio

New York Times

October 29, 2012

Prosecutors on Monday set a fast-track trial date for the investigative journalist arrested last weekend after publishing a politically sensitive list of Greeks said to have Swiss bank accounts.

The snowballing case has raised questions about press freedom and Greece’s willingness to crack down on tax evasion.

Prosecutors said that Kostas Vaxevanis, the editor of Hot Doc magazine, would be tried Thursday in Athens on charges of interfering with sensitive personal data in a one-hearing procedure that is routine in Greece for misdemeanors. If found guilty, he could face a minimum prison term of one year and a fine of around €30,000, or about $39,000, one of his lawyers said.

Since his arrest on Sunday and release that same day, Mr. Vaxevanis has become a popular symbol as a crusader against a corrupt system, one in which the political class is seen as protecting the interests of the business elite at the expense of ordinary Greeks who are suffering from years of austerity.

The case has also prompted a debate about whether a journalist has the right to defend freedom of the press at the expense of personal privacy.


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