The Greek journalist who published the infamous “Lagarde list” of Swiss bank accounts could face two years in jail for breaching privacy. In the latest development, his trial was postponed to October. Padraig Reidy reports
Index on Censorship award winner Kostas Vaxevanis returned to an Athens court on Monday for a fresh hearing in his prosecution for the publication of details of secret bank accounts. The case was postponed to October 2013, according to tweets by @asteris and @ibiris.
Vaxevanis was acquitted of breaching data privacy laws in November 2012. His magazine Hot Doc published the names of 2,000 Greek holders of Swiss bank accounts – the so-called “Lagarde list”.
But prosecutors took the unusual step of appealing for a retrial, claiming that crucial evidence had not been taken into consideration.
In an open letter to EU president José Manuel Barroso published on this site and at the Guardian’s Comment Is Free, Vaxevanis warned that his retrial showed that Greece was drifting away from democracy:
“Everyone is entitled to their opinion with regard to addressing the Greek crisis. But the crisis cannot be addressed without democratic principles. Greece is drifting away from the standards of western democracy as they were established after World War II. Truth in the media is the first victim.
“I would like you to know that, if I am found guilty, I will not ask for a suspension of my sentence. I will let myself be taken to jail. This is the only way for me to show what is truly happening in this country, which has its roots in ancient Greek democracy and claims to embrace European democracy. A corrupt system of power in my country is persecuting me for the very same reasons for which I was awarded two international journalism prizes this year.”
Watch Kostas Vaxevanis’s interview with the Guardian after he accepted the Guardian/Index on Censorship journalism award in March this year