Greece to bolster presumption of innocence; decriminalize defamation


Greek Justice Minister Michalis Kalogirou on Monday submitted legislation in Parliament that, among other measures, will adopt European Union rules which will allow people suspected of a crime to seek compensation when public figures violate their right to presumption of innocence.

The law prohibits government or state authorities from making any public references to guilt, before a person is proven guilty by a court.

The ministry also tabled an important amendment that decriminalizes defamation in the press, a law which in the past has led to the arrests of journalists following lawsuits filed by government officials.

Under Greek law, defamation is considered a “flagrant” crime, meaning a complaint against a person can result in their immediate detention.

The law has been criticized by international organizations which have argued that it is used to limit freedom of press and intimidate journalists.