March 31, 2023

Athens News

News in English from Greece

Writer Tatsopoulos arrested "for slandering the Greek Church"

Prominent Greek writer and vocal critic of the Greek Orthodox Church, Petros Tatsopoulos, was arrested on Monday after being sued for libel by a candidate from the Christian nationalist Greek Solution party for violating his religious freedom.

Petros Tatsopoulos is taken into custody in central Athens after speaking at an event on religion and education organized by the Free Thinking Zone bookstore. He was released from custody by order of the prosecutor’s office around midnight. A court date has not yet been set, the writer wrote on social media. He added that he would never stop exposing those who use religion for political purposes.

Tatsopoulos was sued by television presenter Philippos Kambouris, who recently announced his candidacy for Velopoulos’ Greek Solution. Cambouris confirmed the lawsuit in a social media post where he accused the writer of libel and insulting his faith and freedom of religion.

The lawsuit was filed after Tatsopoulos accused Kambouris on social media of using his faith to rally voter support while visiting a monastery in Nea Makri, eastern Attica, where he said patron saint Ephraim performed a miracle that saved his life after suffering a stroke in 2020.

The government reacted to the news of Tatsopoulos’s arrest with a statement emphasizing that freedom of speech is enshrined in the Greek Constitution and should not be abused for political purposes. “Deliberate scenes of artificial tension and arrests of citizens for expressing their opinions are condemnable,” government spokesman Giannis Ikonomu said.

Tatsopoulos was an MP for the left-wing SYRIZA from 2012 to 2014, and ran for parliament for the conservative New Democracy in 2019 and for the center party To Potami in 2015.

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