Trial of anti-vaxxer lawyer postponed due to positive Covid test

The trial of a Greek lawyer accused of spreading fake news about the Covid-19 pandemic on social media was postponed on Friday after his lawyers presented results showing he tested positive for the virus.

The minimum sentence is three months. The reason for it will be untrue (in the opinion of the regulatory authorities) information that “can cause concern or fear among citizens or shake public confidence in the national economy, the country’s defense capability or public health.”

Defendant Nikos Antoniadis announced online Thursday that he was infected, saying it was “a simple flu” and calling his case the “trial of the century.”

Antoniadis was indicted in November by the cybercrime police department after a complaint was filed containing facts proving that the lawyer argued that there was no coronavirus, that patients were intubated without good reason, and that Covid-19 vaccines were dangerous.

The prosecution is part of a wider campaign by the Greek judiciary to crack down on anti-vaccine activity.

On November 13, 2021, the Greek Parliament adopted a law introducing criminal liability for distributors of fake news.

The minimum sentence is three months. The reason for it will be untrue (in the opinion of the regulatory authorities) information that “can cause concern or fear among citizens or shake public confidence in the national economy, the country’s defense capability or public health.”

In the new version of the law, punishment is provided for “spreading false news” “that can cause anxiety or fear among citizens or shake public confidence in the national economy, the country’s defense capability or public health. It is punishable by imprisonment for at least three months and a fine.”

The new article also provides for criminal liability of the publisher or owner of the mass media if fake news is distributed in such a way:

“If the act was committed repeatedly, through the press or the Internet, the perpetrator is liable to imprisonment for at least six months and a fine. The owner or publisher of the media will suffer the same punishment.”

Journalists talk about the violation of freedom of speech, lawyers point out the toughening of punishment. And the explanatory note to the bill says that the appearance of “public health” in the existing reality is necessary:

“…is a necessary addition as there has been widespread news, concern and panic among citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially on public health issues.”

In addition to false news about the coronavirus and vaccination, fake news about the climate crisis and the environment will be criminalized.

In the new version of the law, punishment is provided for “spreading false news” “that can cause anxiety or fear among citizens or shake public confidence in the national economy, the country’s defense capability or public health. It is punishable by imprisonment for at least three months and a fine.”

The new article also provides for criminal liability of the publisher or owner of the mass media if fake news is distributed in such a way:

“If the act was committed repeatedly, through the press or the Internet, the perpetrator is liable to imprisonment for at least six months and a fine. The owner or publisher of the media will suffer the same punishment.”

Journalists talk about the violation of freedom of speech, lawyers point out the toughening of punishment. And the explanatory note to the bill says that the appearance of “public health” in the existing reality is necessary:

“…is a necessary addition as there has been widespread news, concern and panic among citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially on public health issues.”

In addition to false news about the coronavirus and vaccination, fake news about the climate crisis and the environment will be criminalized.





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