After the American Statistical Association Board (ASA) last week, the International Statistical Institute (ISI) came out in support of Greece’s former head of its statistical service, Andreas Georgiou, after his acquittal was annulled for the second time by the country’s Supreme Court.
Georgiou had been accused of falsifying budget data in order to justify Greece’s first international bailout.
His case will go before the Council of Appeals Court Judges which has already cleared him twice of any wrongdoing.
In a statement issued on May 22, ISI described the court decision as “unprecedented" and “extraordinary,” noting that the relentless prosecution of Georgiou and two of his former work colleagues is viewed as politically motivated.
“International commentators are increasingly stating openly that political factors appear to be driving this prolonged prosecution of Andreas Georgiou to serve interests of political forces within Greece and that this will be maintained until the ‘right’ decision is achieved,” the institute said.
“Such perceptions are very damaging for the Greek judicial system and for Greece in general, its democracy and its hoped for economic recovery,” it added.
ISI said it is “extremely puzzling” that the Supreme Court continues to dismiss the considered verdicts and judgements of its competent courts and investigators, considering that the fiscal deficit statistics at issue, and the methodology underpinning them, have been repeatedly validated by Eurostat.
“This must be considered as a gross abuse of their human rights. This situation, which has dragged on since 2011, has caused them and their families considerable stress when they were simply doing their job with the integrity expected of senior official statisticians,” the institute said.
“The International Statistical Institute calls upon the Greek State to stop these inconsistencies and this injustice,” it added.
ISI also called on Greece’s European and international partners to take “whatever steps are necessary” to address the “fundamental contradiction” of providing for their assistance to Greece on the basis of statistics that are repeatedly challenged at the highest level of the Greek judiciary.