Anti-vax lawyer arrested for dissemination of fake news on COVID-19, then released
Greece has a robust anti-vax movement – far-right activists and religious zealots are among the most aggressive exponents – and a number of doctors are among the hundreds of social media anti-vaxxers.
Greek police arrested anti-vax lawyer Nikos Anastasiadis last night in accordance with a prosecutor’s order that cited the “dissemination of fake news” on COVID-19 and “incitement to disobedience”.
A preliminary investigation had previously been conducted by the prosecutor’s office following complaints by citizens.
Anastasiadis was freed shortly after 1am today and has sued the prosecutor for breach of duty.
According to the news site dikastiko.gr, which focuses on judicial affairs, the arrest was based on a video in which Anastasiadis expounded on his anti-vax views.
Greece has a robust anti-vax movement – far-right activists and religious zealots are among the most aggressive exponents – and a number of doctors are among the hundreds of anti-vaxxers that have a strong presence in the social media.
About 7,000 National Health System doctors have been suspended without pay due to their refusal to be vaccinated.
Shortly after his arrest, Antoniadis was set free and went live on Facebook to inform his followers on all that transpired last night. He announced that he sued the prosecutor with a special emergency procedure that provides for the arrest of the accused within 24 hours after crime was committed.
Antoniadis is a well-known anti-vaxxer who has posted a host of unscientific views during the pandemic.
He has referred to state hospitals as “hellholes” and to the treatment of COVID-19 patients as “illegal detention”.
He has also made pronouncements on when and whether doctors have a right to intubate patients.
Yesterday, prior to his arrest, Anastasiadis made a series of posts attacking the director of the ICU at Thessaloniki’s large Papanikolaou hospital.
He threatened to sue the doctor over the death of a 51-year-old woman in Thessaloniki who died after following the “advice” of a former public health inspector that she should not be vaccinated.
In a post, Anastasiadis attempted to dissociate himself and the public health official from criminal responsibility for the death.