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Anti-terrorism law

The Hellenic League for Human Rights expresses its concern about the adoption of the new anti-terrorism law. First of all, because the introduction of the legislation — despite the fact that it related to crucial aspects of individual freedoms — happened with haste and under conditions that precluded the opportunity for dialogue. At the same time, attempts were made to explain the new regulations through the invocation of the relevant decision-framework by the Council of the European Union. The latter, however, does not dictate criminal offenses and interrogatory methods, nor does it ignore constitutional orders that should be followed in the description of offenses, the provision for crimes and the form of the penal proceedings.

Our country has now acquired a piece of “high profile” anti-terrorism legislation. The new provisions have as their prototype the -non-existent phenomenon of the- terrorist who acts alone. The adjustment, however, is not “accidental”. Essentially, it relieves the prosecuting authorities of the requirement to prove the actor?s involvement in a group. With the choice of the new law, the penal sanctions are also made infinitely more strict, while the prerequisites for the implementation of special investigative measures are weakened ? all of which violates fundamental freedoms. The situation is deteriorating, moreover, because of ever-changing meanings being used to define terrorism itself.

The new law now penalizes the (individual) threat of terrorist activities, with unclear characteristics, as a special type of crime. Despite the fact that such activities would normally amount to a misdemeanor, the alleged activities can now justify the implementation of dubious investigative measures – measures that at least until today were only practicable for capital offenses. These developments serve to further reinforce the policing dimension of social control.

A penalty stricter, in practice, than that of life imprisonment is also being introduced for the “terrorists” in question, as the institution of dismissal under certain conditions is no longer in effect for those with the same prerequisites. In any case, the statute of limitations is selectively shifted to thirty years for those acts penalized by life imprisonment, so that the equitable provision for the implementation of the statute once twenty years have elapsed, as stipulated by our legislation, is no longer valid.

Overall, the new antiterrorism law is being used as an attempt to reinforce penal repression. The provisions being introduced are once again testing the authorities and the limits of liberal criminal law.

The Hellenic League for Human Rights awaits the establishment of the rest of the above law, with which the European warrant of arrest is introduced, in order to express its position.


For the Administrative Council of the League,

The president
Dimitris Christopoulos

The general secretary
Giannis Ktistakis



© HLHR 2020

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