Kostas Vaxevanis, the Greek investigative journalist who published the infamous “Lagarde list” of 2,000 Greek citizens holding Swiss bank accounts, has today been acquitted of charges of privacy breaches.
Vaxevanis was on trial after already having been found not guilty of “interfering with sensitive personal data” in November 2012. That decision was overturned by a district attorney and a fresh trial ordered. But today a court unanimously rejected the charge.
The HotDoc magazine reporter was the recipient of the Guardian/Index on Censorship Journalism Award in March this year. In a speech at the award ceremony in London, Vaxevanis said he was willing to go to jail to defend the free press, adding:
“I want to be a journalist in a country that is not afraid of the truth. I care for the truth of the people not that of a caste of corrupted politicians and businessmen. I do not want the people of my country to read foreign newspapers to learn what happened in their own country, as it was happening during the junta.”
Index on Censorship Chief Executive Kirsty Hughes said today:
“We are delighted that Kostas Vaxevanis has been acquitted. This was an outrageous case, but today is a good day for free expression in Greece, and throughout Europe.”