Writer arrested for defamation after suit filed by Christian nationalist candidate

Writer arrested for defamation after suit filed by Christian nationalist candidate

A prominent writer and outspoken critic of the Church of Greece was arrested on Monday after a candidate with the Christian nationalist Greek Solution party sued him for defamation and accused him of violating his religious freedom.

Petros Tatsopoulos was taken into custody in downtown Athens after speaking at an event on religion and education organized at the Free Thinking Zone bookshop. He was released from custody a few hours later.

Tatsopoulos has been sued by TV presenter Filippos Kambouris, who recently announced his candidacy with Greek Solution. Kambouris confirmed the lawsuit in a social media post, where he accused the writer of defamation and of insulting his faith and religious freedom.

The suit came after Tatsopoulos accused Kambouris of exploiting his faith to drum up voter support during a visit to a monastery in Nea Makri, eastern Attica, where he said that the patron saint, Efraim, performed a miracle that saved his life after a stroke in 2020.

The government responded to the news of Tatsopoulos’ arrest with a statement stressing that freedom of expression is enshrined in the Greek Constitution and cannot be abused for political expediency.

“Premeditated scenes of artificial tension and the arrest of citizens because they express their opinion are condemnable,” government spokesman Giannis Oikonomou said in a post.

Tatsopoulos was an MP with leftist SYRIZA from 2012-2014 and also ran for Parliament with conservative New Democracy in 2019, as well as with centrist To Potami in 2015.

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