'Fatal wound': Greek public figures denounce wiretapping scandal

Sat, 20 Aug 2022 8:47 GMT
'In a democracy, illegal acts cannot be justified by invoking national security,' academics, activists say in open letter.
'Fatal wound': Greek public figures denounce wiretapping scandal

Leading public figures in Greece have issued a scathing open letter denouncing the surveillance scandal that has shaken the country’s political scene. 

Prominent academics, activists and rights defenders termed the scandal a severe blow to Greek political life, local daily Avgi reported.

“It is a fatal wound to the heart of the polity as it attacks its liberal character and ultimately undermines the democracy itself,” read the letter published by a group calling itself the Initiative for the Defense of Democracy and the Rule of Law.

The crisis erupted this month as a parliamentary probe was launched after Nikos Androulakis, leader of the opposition PASOK-KINAL party, complained to prosecutors about an attempt to hack his cellphone with Israeli-made Predator tracking software.

Greek spy chief Panagiotis Kontoleon admitted before the investigating committee that the National Intelligence Service was spying on Thanasis Koukakis, a journalist working for CNN Greece.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis last week acknowledged that the agency also wiretapped Androulakis, but denied having any information about the illegal surveillance.
Kontoleon and Grigoris Dimitriadis, a top aide to Mitsotakis, have since been forced to resign.
According to the open letter, up to 15,000 people might have been subjected to illegal surveillance in Greece in 2021 alone.

However, following the legal changes made last year, no one can know if the privacy of their communications was breached, it said.

While it is a fact that some intelligence operations must remain secret, they cannot completely escape any institutional control, the letter said.

“In a democracy, not all kinds illegal acts cannot be justified by invoking national security,” it added.


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