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Greek human rights activists acquitted

ATHENS (JTA) — Three Greek human rights activists on trial for speaking out against judges who had acquitted a Holocaust-denying ultranationalist politician were acquitted.

A three-judge panel on Monday unanimously found for the activists from the AntiNazi Initiative, an Athens-based group founded in 1997 that fights hate in Greek society.

The activists were on trial Monday for speaking out against the judges who acquitted Kostas Plevris, an open admirer of National Socialism who was found guilty by a Greek court in 2007 of incitement to racial hatred based on statements in his book  "Jews: The Whole Truth," but was later acquitted by an appeals court in a verdict that was upheld by the Greek Supreme Court.

The president of the Athens Jewish community, Benjamin Albala, a member of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece, expressed his satisfaction with ruling in favor of the activists.

"The outcome shows that the brave human rights activists of the AntiNazi Initiative were right when claiming that in the previous trial some court officials were biased," Albala said.

One of the appellate court judges who had acquitted Plevris, Marianthi Pagouteli, has published anti-Semitic remarks on her blog, according to the Greek daily newspaper Elefterotypia, including "f. Jews I wish Hitler had exterminated you completely."

The prosecutor’s office in Athens started legal action against the Greek AntiNazi Initiative for publicly denouncing certain judges who had participated in the proceedings against Plevris. The AntiNazi Initiative organization, the Greek Helsinki Monitor and the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece had sued Plevris for incitement to racial hatred and violence against the Jews.

Plevris sued senior representatives of the Greek Jewish community, several journalists and human rights activists for libel.

World Jewish organizations protested vehemently to the United Nations following the Greek Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of Plevris, the founder and leader of two nationalist parties. The U.N. in a letter to the Greek government asked for an explanation of the ruling.

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