NEWS

Scholars seek EU action over Kotzias ‘persecution’ of Athens Review of Books

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The New York Review of Books has published a letter signed by dozens of academics and writers calling on the presidents of the European Commission and Council, Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk, respectively, to “use all means” at their disposal to “save” the Athens Review of Books from “ongoing persecution” by former foreign minister Nikos Kotzias.

According to the letter, the bank accounts of the Athens Review of Books' publisher and chief editor, as well as the journal’s revenues from the Press Distribution Agency, have been frozen since July 2017, in what it claims is “an obvious attempt to shut it down” by Kotzias, who sued the journal in 2010 over the publication of a reader's letter.

In that letter, the reader referred to the former foreign minister as a “gauleiter of Stalinism,” prompting a defamation suit from Kotzias that was upheld in two seperate court rulings, in 2015 and 2017.

“The ARB is now at risk of being forced to suspend publication,” the letter in the New York Review of Books says, adding that “the ongoing persecution of the ARB is an extreme abuse of the ability that Greek law affords to politicians to file lawsuits against the press and request excessive sums of money.”

“Because of the latitude provided by Greek law they can win these lawsuits in violation of European Court of Human Rights case law, thus intimidating the press and deterring political criticism,” it adds.