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A young man arrested at Golden Dawn’s request for satire on Facebook

25 September 2012 / 14:09:27  GRReporter
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The arrest of a man aged 27 for a satirical profile created on the social network Facebook caused violent reactions at a social and political level. The young man was arrested after Golden Dawn deputy Christos Pappas addressed a question to parliament.

The young man uploaded in this profile processed images of the famous Greek monk from Mount Athos Paisios and called him "monk Pastitsios" after the meal pastitsio. He derided in the publications the overexposure to the deeds and especially the prophecies and miracles the faithful have been attributing to the monk. It is worth noting that Paisios perished 18 years ago, but those spreading his fame claim he has continued to work miracles. The last of them happened in July this year, when according to the information in electronic but also in some printed publications, a young boy who was in a state of clinical death according to the doctors’ opinion was awakened when his mother visited a monastery in Thessaloniki. According to the authors of the text, the miracle happened on the day the monk died 18 years ago. In fact, the date is incorrect but it does not really matter to the faithful.

The department combating electronic crimes conducted an investigation and after capturing the youth, a file case under the fast-track procedure was registered against him with accusations of abusive blasphemy and desecration of religion through the social network Facebook.

The police communication states that the profile "contained profanity and abuse against monk Paisios and Orthodox Christianity, which were written by people from different countries around the world."
The electronic investigation found the logs and tracked the account’s administrator. On Friday, a group of officers from the anti-electronic crimes checked in the presence of a prosecutor the home of the young man in the village of Psahna on the island of Evia. They found and seized a laptop. A check of its data showed that he was the administrator of the account and they arrested him.

The first political response to the arrest came from the party DRASI, which failed to enter parliament after the election. Its communication states that satire, even when it affects the religious feelings of citizens, must be freely exercised. "Being a severe criticism, it is absolutely necessary for the conduct of a dialogue in a civilized society. Suppressing it is a profoundly undemocratic act leading to a significant restriction of individual freedoms," reads the text of the liberal party.
A deputy from the main opposition party SYRIZA, namely Dimitris Papadimoulis, reacted with an angry comment on the social network Twitter and expressed his desire to appear as a witness for the defence during the trial of the arrested youth. "When law equates blasphemy with paedophilia, it is unfair. I want to appear as a witness for the defence of the arrested."

The communication of the party reads, "The arrest of the young man, aged 27, charged with blasphemy is the highest form of violation of the freedom of speech by public authorities, which should keep it as the apple of their eye. It is absolutely unacceptable for Greece to arrest in 2012 a citizen just because he posted satirical comments on a social network. It happens only in theocratic regimes like that in Iran."
The administration of culture in the Democratic Left, which participates in the governing tripartite coalition, believes, "The symbolic significance of this arrest is that public authorities readily and quickly respond to Golden Dawn’s orders. Moreover, it contradicts freedom of speech, as defined by the European Court of Human Rights." The Democratic Left also added, "Similar arrests of fundamentalist nature, which are unbecoming of a European and democratic country but are typical of theocratic regimes, violate not only the freedom of speech, but of all citizens without exception. They are acts of intolerance and medieval practices that denigrate the image of the country internationally."

Tags: SocietyPoliticsSatireBlasphemy and desecration of religionArrestSocial networks
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