SYRIZA says new anti-racist bill is in the ‘right direction’

A new bill introducing tougher punishment for racist and xenophobic offenses is in “the right direction” leftist party SYRIZA said in a statement released on Wednesday. The draft legislation aims to bring Greece in line with a European Union directive issued back in 2008.

In its statement the main opposition party noted, however, that the bill should not “violate fundamental civil liberties in the name of defending democracy.”

Sources said that the bill foresees anyone found guilty of racist behavior, including in the media and on the Internet, facing between three and six years behind bars and a fine of up to 20,000 euros. The same penalties will also apply to acts of racist violence.

On Wednesday Justice Minister Antonis Roupakiotis said that the bill was expected to be submitted to a parliamentary committee by Friday.