ATHENS – Noted Greek author Soti Triantafyllou was found innocent by a Greek court of charges brought by the Greek-Helsinki Monitor human rights group that she used racist language in her writings.
One of the articles cited by the group in its legal suit was published in the Athens Voice in November 2015 following massacres in Paris, under the title Rock and Roll Will Never Die, which wrote of violence stemming from radical Islam.
Her lawyers said that the anti-racism law invoked by the group violates Greece’s constitution by restricting freedom of speech and would stifle writers.
Triantafyllou included a quote in her piece, which she attributed to Marco Polo, that described a moderate Muslim as “someone who holds your head while they cut it off,” which upset the group.
It led to a lawsuit under Greece’s anti-racism laws from human rights activist Panayote Dimitras, who heads the Greek Helsinki Monitor and is in charge of the Racist Crimes Watch blog.
He said she could have confirmed just by searching on the internet that the quote is fake and was never uttered by Marco Polo but she blamed him for taking her words out of context and said the case showed the failings of the anti-racism legislation passed in 2015 when the Radical Left SYRIZA came to power.
“My positions on the violence that stems from Islam are different from my positions on migrants,” she wrote in brief comment on the Liberal.gr news website when the charges were brought in 2017.
“I am against anything extreme, whether it comes from extreme Islam or elsewhere. This gentleman took one excerpt that nobody knew about and ignored everything else,” she said.