Save Ios wins SLAPP case

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We received the full text of the decision of the Single-Member First-Instance Court of Athens, which rejected the complaint brought by Mr. Michalopoulos against our association for slander.


The complaint concerned an article by EfSyn newspaper that we had reposted on our website. The EfSyn article reported on a suspended prison sentence handed to the legal representative of company 105 SA by the three-member first-instance court of Naxos in December 2021. The article wrongly mentioned that the prison sentence concerned Mr Michalopoulos. The mistake was corrected by EfSyn a few days later. Our article had made the correction when the article was first published, in a text that preceded the reproduced article. Mr Michalopoulos, however, filed a complaint against our association for defamation and insult to his personality. He was asking our association to pay him damages of 120,000 Euros. He was also asking damages of 120,000 Euros from Andrea Bosco, a member of our association and the Vice-President of our first governing board, because the website is listed under his name. Finally, he was asking that Mr Bosco be imprisoned for one year, as a means to ensure that the damages are paid.


THE COURT NOT ONLY THREW OUT THE COMPLAINT, BUT ALSO DID SO IN A VERY FAVOURABLE MANNER TO OUR ASSOCIATION. The court decision mentions the following: “After extensive examination of all the material provided by the opposing sides, the court has formed a clear view about the case brought to it, and concludes that the complaint is baseless and hence should be rejected. This is because (a) the penal sentence mentioned in the press article concerned the legal representative of a company belonging to the plaintiff, (b) the association published the article on its website because of its legitimate interest to protect the cultural and natural environment of Ios, in the context of its activities to inform the public about its fight to protect the island against the unchecked construction of large buildings and other installations, and not to insult the personality of the plaintiff as the latter baselessly claims, and (c) the association made clear on its website that the penal sentence did not concern the plaintiff personally, and made that clarification multiple times in its first and subsequent postings.” The court also “orders the plaintiff to compensate the association and Mr Bosco for their legal fees, which it sets to 2400 Euros”.

 
Summarizing, the court recognizes that (a) Mr Michalopoulos is effectively running the company 105 SA, even though he “hides” behind the company’s legal representative when the company receives penal sentences, (b) our association has a legitimate interest to protect the cultural and natural environment of Ios against unchecked large-scale construction activity, and (c) our association acted to inform the public about true events and not to spread falsehoods about Mr Michalopoulos. THESE ARE ALL IMPORTANT STATEMENTS AS THEY CONFIRM VIEWS AND CONCERNS THAT WE HAVE BEEN EXPRESSING PUBLICLY SINCE THE ASSOCIATION’S FOUNDATION. It is also important to us that the court ordered Mr Michalopoulos TO COMPENSATE US WITH 2400 Euros for the costs that he imposed on us.

The court decision is a definite positive development in our fight to stop the environmental degradation of Ios. We are very grateful to the witnesses who testified in our defence in the trial, and to our excellent lawyers.

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