New legislation that provides stiffer penalties for individuals and political parties who engage in racism or incite racist violence is to be discussed in Parliament on August 26, following months of delays, it was announced on Tuesday.
The anti-racism bill was first submitted to Parliament in November but objections from the then cabinet secretary Panayiotis Baltakos forced the government to withdraw the would-be legislation. It was resubmitted to the House but has not moved beyond the committee stages for several months. Now a new version of the bill is to be tabled in a bid to bring Greece’s anti-racism legislation, which has stood since 1979, up to date.
The draft law includes provisions that mean parties or associations which promote racism will be cut off from state funding of any kind for between one and six months. The justice minister will also have the right to fine the people involved in such acts between 10,000 and 100,000 euros.
Individuals engaging in racist acts can be jailed for between three months and three years. They will also face fines of 5,000 to 20,000 euros. If their actions lead to another crime being committed, this will carry a minimum six-month prison sentence.
Jail terms of three months to three years will also be handed down to anyone who praises or denies “the significance of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, the Holocaust and Nazism” in a manner that could incite racial hate or violence. If the perpetrator is an MP or public official then the jail sentence will be stiffened, rising to between three and five years.
Government sources told Kathimerini that the Justice Ministry would be taking on board the concerns voiced by 38 New Democracy MPs who asked in a letter that there be a specific reference to the genocide of Black Sea and Asia Minor Greeks, as well as Armenians and Assyrians. The Greek Parliament has recognized these slaughters as genocide since 1994.