ATHENS (EJP)---The Greek Jewish community said Friday it was “shocked” after neo-Nazi militant Kostas Plevris, who wrote a book denying the Holocaust and containing offensive references to Jews, was acquitted by an Appeals court in Athens.
Plevris was found not guilty of “incitement to racial hatred and violence against the Jews” by the 5-member court.
In a reaction, the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KIS) expressed its “disappointment and amazement at the decision of the Athens court.
"This decision saddens and causes concern among citizens of a modern democratic society as a self-confessed advocate of Nazism and racism remains unpunished though he not only distorts proven historical evidence, but even worse, uses his pen to incite hatred and provoke discrimination and violence against citizens of Greece and Europe," the Central Board said.
“The Greek Jewry believes that the fundamental constitutional right of freedom of speech has nothing to do with the direct threats, insults and incitement to racial hatred and violence against the Jews that Plevris includes in his book" titled “Jews-The whole truth” .
Plevris had been convicted in first instance in December 2007 and condemned to 14 months of imprisonment on probation for three years for “racial insult”, “incitement to hatred and racial violence” on the basis of the 1979 anti-racist law.
At the time, the Jewish community saw the trial as a key test of the Greek authorities’ determination to deal with anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial in a country where anti-Semitic literature such as the infamous “Protocols of the elders of Zion” is on sale in bookshops.
The charges against Plevris were also brought by the Helsinki Monitor and the “Anti-Nazi Initiative” organization, two human right Greek NGO’s.
He immediately appealed the sentence.
According to Moses Constantinis, the Appeals court prosecutor characterized Plevris’s defamatory book – which denies the Holocaust, calls the Jews “sub-human” and threatens them with the “re-opening of the crematoria in Auschwitz- a “scientific work”.
To express the resentment of the Greek Jews, the Jewish umbrella body has decided not to be represented at the European symposium “Building together the Future of Europe” which will be held next Monday in Brussels, “given that theoretical analysis and statements made by Greek MEPs on the denunciation and condemnation of anti-Semitism are meaningless”.
,000 Jews live in Greece.