Court dismisses Focus defamation charges

An Athens misdemeanors court has dismissed libel and defamation charges against a former editor of German magazine Focus and five journalists.

Helmut Markvort and the journalists had been taken to court in 2010 after the magazine came out with an image of Venus de Milo draped in a Greek flag on the cover raising her middle finger.

The magazine also published an accompanying article describing Greeks as the “cheats” of the European family.

Judges rejected the defamation claims, brought by a group of Greek lawyers, ruling that the allegations contained in the magazine were directed against Greece's politicians and were not targeted against the Greek people as a whole.

The court also dismissed charges against Klaus Boetig, a freelance travel writer, who had contributed a story for the magazine's online edition.

Furthermore, the court ruled that the statute of limitations had expired for the charges of defamation.

Judges ruled that the controversial image did not amount to an insult of a national symbol because the flag depicted on the cover was not a real flag.

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