Another politician files complaint with court over surveillance allegations

Thu, 22 Dec 2022 9:51 GMT
Giorgos Kyrtsos ‘expects prosecutors to do their duty,’ not act as legal advisers of intelligence service, says his lawyer.
Another politician files complaint with court over surveillance allegations

Giorgos Kyrtsos ‘expects prosecutors to do their duty,’ not act as legal advisers of intelligence service, says his lawyer.

A Greek politician who was placed under surveillance by the country’s National Intelligence Service (EYP) took the case to court, the latest victim of a wiretapping scandal that has been rocking Athens, local media reported Wednesday. 

The lawsuit by Giorgos Kyrtsos, a member of the European Parliament who was expelled from the ruling Nea Dimokratia (ND) party following his criticism of the government for curtailing press freedom in the country, targeted three protagonists of the illegal surveillance operations, said the Avgi daily.

Former EYP chief Panagiotis Kontoleon, EYP prosecutor Vasiliki Vlachou and former deputy director of the EYP Evangelia Georgakopoulou, who were mentioned in the lawsuit, are prominent figures who supervised wide-ranging surveillance operations that targeted numerous prominent journalists, generals and politicians, including Kyrtsos, it added.

Speaking to journalists outside the prosecutor's office, Kyrtsos said he is taking legal action because his constitutional rights have been violated and he was considered a threat to national security.

“Of course, I will also pursue a European follow-up to the case,” he added.

His lawyer, Giannis Mantzouranis, told journalists that his client “expects competent prosecutors to do their duty, to close their ears to orders and instructions from above and to resist pressure in the hope that they will not act as legal advisers to the EYP.”

Surveillance scandal

On Aug. 8, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis acknowledged that opposition politician Nikos Androulakis was wiretapped by Greece’s intelligence agency but denied knowledge of the operation.

The scandal first emerged on Aug. 4 when Panagiotis Kontoleon, then-head of the National Intelligence Service (EYP), told a parliamentary committee that the intelligence agency had been spying on financial journalist Thanasis Koukakis.

On Aug. 5, Kontoleon, along with the general secretary of the prime minister’s office, Grigoris Dimitriadis, resigned.

A parliamentary probe was launched after Androulakis complained to top prosecutors about an attempt to hack his cellphone with Predator spyware.

Previously, Documento on Nov. 6 published a list of 33 people allegedly spied on by the EYP on the direct orders of Dimitriadis, including Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, Deputy Defense Minister Nikolaos Chardalias, Development Minister Adonis Georgiadis, Labor Minister Kostis Hatzidakis, Finance Minister Christos Staikouras, former Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, former Public Order Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis and former National Security Adviser Alexandros Diakopoulos.

The same daily alleged on Dec. 3 that the EYP, which directly operates under Mitsotakis, also wiretapped Chief of General Staff Konstantinos Floros, Chief of Land Forces Charalambos Lalousis and General Director of Defense Investments and Armaments Thodoris Lagios.

Opposition parties have been blaming Mitsotakis for the scandal and have called for his government to hold snap elections, something he rejects.

The European Commission and European Parliament are closely monitoring developments related to the scandal.


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