Papathanassiou is up on criminal charges, including dereliction of duty, in connection with his part in the sale of inert materials during his time as mayor.
Sokos said the decision was taken in accordance with the new municipalities and communities code, which calls for the suspension of elected officials indicted for criminal offences.
Papathanassiou issued a written statement describing the decision as unfair, noting that other local authority officials remained in office and were not suspended even when courts had passed guilty verdicts against them. He said that he had appealed against the decision and also asked for his trial date to be brought up to September 2011.
Concerning Central Macedonia Regional Authority chief Panagiotis Psomiadis, who was given a suspended sentence of 12 months by a Thessaloniki appeals court for breach of duty, Sokos noted that Psomiadis should have been placed on suspension before the case even went to appeal and stressed that the law would be applied.