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One case of blasphemy a day

The Hellenic Statistical Authority reports that more than 300 court briefs a year are about disturbance of religious peace

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02 February 2018

More than 300 court briefs open each year in Greece with charges relating to disturbance of religious peace. According to official Hellenic Statisticalal Authority information, in 2016 there were 254 court briefs for malicious blasphemy with 328 perpetrators (312 Greeks and 16 foreigners), of whom 159 were arrested (also for other offences); and 43 other court briefs for other forms of disturbance of religious peace with 58 perpetrators (of whom 46 were arrested).

The report relied on data provided by the Hellenic Police, which showed that this trend is ongoing.

In 2015, there were 315 court briefs for malicious blasphemy with 363 perpetrators (336 Greeks and 27 foreigners); in 2014, there were 345 court briefs with 449 perpetrators (417 Greeks and 32 foreigners); in 2013, there were 320 briefs with 388 perpetrators (364 Greeks and 24 foreigners); in 2012, there were 236 briefs with 219 perpetrators; in 2011, there were 330 briefs with 378 perpetrators; and in 2010, there were 469 court briefs with 532 perpetrators.

On average, this means that the legal system in Greece is dealing with a case of blasphemy a day. The Greek legal system is often reported to be slow and inefficient, having to deal with more cases than it can sustain. Many critics claim that the system is clogged by minor offencses that take time to process. Human rights activists have been calling for an abolishment of blasphemy from the list of offences as it effectively functions as a restriction on the fundamental freedom of speech.

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