After learning that the journalist Kostas Vaxevanis was arrested this morning, Reporters Without Borders reiterates its appeal to the Greek authorities to respect all of his rights
28 October 2012 - Leaked list of suspected tax evaders prompts arrest warrant
Reporters Without Borders is deeply concerned by the arrest warrant that was issued yesterday for Kostas Vaxevanis, the editor of the weekly Hot Doc and producer of the national TV programme Koutis Tis Pandoras (Pandora's Box), after he published a list of around 2,000 suspected tax evaders with Swiss bank accounts.
Published in the latest issue of Hot Doc, the list is of unclear origin but is known as the Lagarde List because it is said to closely match a list which then French finance minister Christine Lagarde gave to her Greek counterpart in 2010. It has been the subject of contradictory statements by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, finance minister Yannis Stournaras and other officials.
"We are particularly disturbed by the speed with which the authorities issued this arrest warrant. Vaxevanis is not a dangerous criminal and could have just been questioned. The pressure that the warrant puts on this journalist is clearly disproportionate. This excessive procedure also encourages the blackout that the authorities apparently want to impose on coverage of this case, which – although sensitive – is undeniably a subject of public interest.
"If the authorities go ahead and arrest Vaxevanis, we insist that a lawyer is present from the very first moment and that all of his rights are respected. It cannot be any other way in a European Union member country. We also point out that Vaxevanis has very right to insist on the need to protect his sources."
Follow Kostas Vaxevanis on Twitter : @KostasVaxevanis