ATHENS – A Greek attorney who officials said spread false news about the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccinations was the first to be detained under a new law aimed at blocking misinformation about the Coronavirus.
While defendants in Greece generally aren’t named under privacy laws, the lawyer in this case was identified as Nikos Antoniadis, who Kathimerini said also faces charges of inciting disobedience.
He was said to be a leader of anti-vaxxer causes by those who don’t think the vaccines are safe or effective or are part of an international conspiracy by governments and pharmaceutical companies to alter their DNA or control their minds.
The case, the paper said, was brought by the police’s cybercrime division after a complaint was filed containing evidence that allegedly showed that he stated the Coronavirus is a hoax and doesn’t exist despite 17,000 deaths in Greece so far, and that patients are intubated without reason and the vaccines have dangerous side effects.
His arrest was ordered by the Athens Prosecutor’s Office, which has been probing rabid and sometimes violent anti-vaxxers, many who try to convince others that the health crisis is a hoax or that vaccines aren’t safe.
Antoniadis was later released and the prosecutor will decide whether to proceed with the prosecution or continue the preliminary investigation, said the paper, as the Athens Journalist Union said the law could be used against reporters writing about the pandemic.