Journalist Charged With Threatening Terrorism
ATHENS, Greece (AP) _ A journalist on Wednesday filed a libel suit against the publisher of Greece’s largest newspaper, adding another twist to a three-year-old legal battle involving allegations that the journalist is a CIA spy and the newspaper is controlled by the Soviet KGB.
Paul Anastasiades, an Athens-based correspondent for The New York Times and the London Daily Telegraph, sued the publisher, editor and three staff members of the left-leaning daily Ethnos with defamation of character and perjury.
Last week, the Athens prosecutor charged Anastasiades, who writes under the name Paul Anastasi, with threatening terroristic acts against Ethnos.
The dispute began in 1983 when Anastasiades published a book entitled ″Take the Nation in Your Hands.″ In the book, he alleged that the newspaper was published in cooperation with the KGB, the Soviet intelligence service, and described publisher George Bobolas and editor Alecos Filippopoulos as ″agents of Soviet influence.″
Bobolas sued and Anastasiades was convicted of libel. He was sentenced to two years in prison, but released pending appeal. An appeals court annulled the sentence in 1984 on a legal technicality.
The case took another twist when Ethnos published excerpts of wiretapped telephone conversations between Anastasiades and an Athens lawyer in July 1983, shortly after the book was published.
The newspaper alleged that Anastasiades was a CIA agent and said the telephone conversations indicated he planned to murder employees of the newspaper, destroy the premises and destabilize democracy in Greece. The excerpts did not appear to support the charges.
In April 1984, Bobolas and Filippopoulos each were sentenced to five months in jail for using illegally acquired wiretaps, and have appealed. They were acquitted of charges they actually made the tap on Anastasiades’ phone at the New York Times office in Athens.
In the suit filed Wednesday, Anastasiades named as defendants Bobolas, Filippopoulos, Ethnos public relations director Apostolos Garoufalis and two editors, Christos Theoharatos and Nikos Nikolaitis.
The journalist, a Cypriot, claims that during the preliminary investigation of the wiretapping case, the defendants gave contradictory evidence on how the tapes of the phone conversation were obtained. He also said his professional reputation was damaged by articles against him in Ethnos.
Meanwhile, Anastasiades and his lawyer, Panayiotis Zotos, face up to a year in prison if convicted of charges they threatened to perform terroristic acts. A trial date has not been set.
Ethnos, or Nation, supports Premier Andreas Papandreou’s socialist government. The tabloid first appeared in 1981. It claims sales of more than 200,000 copies daily, representing 25 percent of all newspaper circulation in Greece.