Tsipras slams top court’s intervention in surveillance scandal
‘Mr. Prosecutor, I am waiting for you to arrest me!" says main opposition leader.
Greek opposition parties slammed the Supreme Court prosecutor Wednesday for saying the country’s telecom watchdog cannot probe wiretaps.
Alexis Tsipras, leader of the main opposition party Syriza, said on Twitter that Isidoros Dogiakos’ legal opinion is unconstitutional for saying that under the new law in force, the Independent Authority for Communication Security and Privacy (ADAE) no longer has the power to inform citizens whether their communications have been intercepted or monitored for reasons related to national security.
He accused the prosecutor of trying to intimidate not only officials of the ADAE but also anyone else who is looking for evidence related to the surveillance scandal that has rocked the political scene since last summer.
"I declare to him that I renounce my parliamentary immunity. Mr. Prosecutor, I am waiting for you to arrest me!" Tsipras went on to say.
The Greek Communist Party (KKE) released a statement saying that the “so-called independent judiciary” is shaped by politicians and consequently acts as an arm of the government.
Michalis Kritridis, the spokesperson for the leftist MeRA25 party, said the prosecutor’s move “demonstrates the depth of Greece’s institutional decline.”
The PASOK party, whose leader Nikos Androulakis has been one of the protagonists of the surveillance scandal, accused the prime minister and the government Wednesday of "brutally abusing the institutions on the altar of a cover-up."
The ever-expanding scandal exploded in Greece last summer, when Thanasis Koukakis, a well-known financial journalist in Greece, reported that his cell phone had been tapped with Israeli-made Predator spyware.
Things escalated after Nikos Androulakis, leader of the PASOK-KINAL opposition party and a member of the European Parliament, also revealed that he was targeted with Predator spyware, triggering a parliamentary probe on the matter.
On Aug. 4, Panagiotis Kontoleon, who then headed the National Intelligence Service (EYP), admitted before a committee of lawmakers that the agency was spying on Koukakis.
Days later, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis disclosed that Androulakis was also wiretapped but denied any knowledge of the operation.
Mitsotakis was left with no option but to force Kontoleon to resign, as well as his top aide and nephew Grigoris Dimitriadis.
On Nov. 6, the Greek publication Documento published a list of 33 people who were allegedly spied on by the EYP on Dimitriadis' direct orders.
They included 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.
A later report by the daily claimed that the EYP, which works directly under Mitsotakis, also wiretapped Chief of General Staff Konstantinos Floros, Chief of Land Forces Charalambos Lalousis and General Director of Defense Investments and Armaments Theodoros Lagios.
Opposition parties blame Mitsotakis for the scandal and have called for his government to hold snap elections, a measure he rejects.
The European Commission and European Parliament have also said they were closely monitoring developments related to the scandal.