September 23, 2019
Greek police has arrested a photojournalist who was covering the evacuation of a squat housing refugees and migrants in Exarchia district of Athens on Monday. Photojournalist of daily Efymerida Ton Syntakton, Alexandros Stamatiou, was handcuffed and taken to the Headquarters of the Greek Police.
Police has filed against Stamatiou for “disturbing house peace.”
“I went to the squat at 4 in the morning. I had no information that something was going to happen, but I had a feeling that they would evacuate and I followed my journalistic instinct, as I always do,” Stamtiou told news website tvxs.gr.
“I said I’d sleep for an hour. The police woke me up. I could only see them having the refugees on their knees and putting them in line.”
He told police that he was a photojournalist, yet, the police response was handcuffs..
“They handcuffed me and take me to the Headquarters. The detention turned into arrest and I am accused of disturbing the common peace,” he added.
He received a three-day postponement and the hearing for his case is scheduled for upcoming Thursday. “I’m going to be declared innocent,” he added stressing “Press muzzling cannot be tolerated.”
According to Human Rights NGO, KERFA, a police officer called the daily and confirmed that Stamatiou was indeed working with the newspaper. However, he was detained and later arrested.
“What did he do and disturb the house peace? He was just taking photos, ” the former president of the Union of Photojournalists in Greece, Marios Lolos commented to 3pointmagazine.
He described Stamatiou’s arrest as a “very dangerous development”
“This is the first time this is happening. On the basis of this event, let’s assume that they can now detain any photojournalist who does his job either on the street or in a private place on the charge of disturbing the house peace,” Lolos stressed.
“My question is once the police operation was lawfully executed, what did they fear from the photos he would capture?” Lolos pointed out.