Wiretapped Greek member of European Parliament accuses Mitsotakis of undermining rule of law

Wiretapped Greek member of European Parliament accuses Mitsotakis of undermining rule of law

ANKARA

A Greek member of the European Parliament who is a victim of a wiretapping scandal that has been shaking Greece for months accused Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Tuesday of undermining the rule of law in the country. 

Giorgos Kyrtsos shared a letter he wrote to European Parliament President Roberta Metsola on Twitter saying that Mitsotakis acknowledged that the wiretapping of the leader of the opposition PASOK party, Nikos Androulakis, was inappropriate and consequently tried to distance himself from the surveillance scandal even though he had direct responsibility.

To cover up the scandal, Mitsotakis used pro-government media to convince Greek citizens that “wiretappings are part of European public life” and undermined the Hellenic Authority for Communication Security and Privacy (ADAE), the independent public authority safeguarding the privacy of communication, by using the judiciary, he added.

Kyrtsos reiterated that he was expelled from Greece’s governing conservative Nea Demokratia (ND) party when he criticized the authoritarian policies of Mitsotakis.

Stressing that he was informed by “reliable sources” last November that he was also under surveillance, Kyrtsos said that “in my effort to prevent the backsliding of Greece towards Western Balkan standards due to the illiberal policies of Mitsotakis, I asked the European Parliament to defend my parliamentary immunity, which was violated by the wiretapping of the Greek authorities, and I am also preparing my legal case for the European Court.”

-Surveillance scandal

The ever-expanding scandal exploded in Greece last summer, when Thanasis Koukakis, a well-known financial journalist in Greece, reported that his cell phone had been tapped with Israeli-made Predator spyware.

Things escalated after Nikos Androulakis, the leader of the PASOK-KINAL opposition party and a member of the European Parliament, also revealed that he was targeted with Predator spyware, triggering a parliamentary probe on the matter.

On Aug. 4, Panagiotis Kontoleon, who then headed Greece’s National Intelligence Service (EYP), admitted before a committee of lawmakers that the agency was spying on Koukakis.

Days later, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis disclosed that Androulakis was also wiretapped but denied any knowledge of the operation.

Mitsotakis was left with no option but to force Kontoleon to resign as well as his top aide and nephew Grigoris Dimitriadis.

On Nov. 6, the Documento newspaper published a list of 33 people who were allegedly spied on by the EYP on Dimitriadis’ direct orders.

They included Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, Deputy Defense Minister Nikolaos Chardalias, Development Minister Adonis Georgiadis, Labor Minister Kostis Hatzidakis, Finance Minister Christos Staikouras, former Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, former Public Order Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis and former National Security Adviser Alexandros Diakopoulos.

A later report by the daily claimed that the EYP, which works directly under Mitsotakis, also wiretapped Chief of General Staff Konstantinos Floros, Chief of Land Forces Charalambos Lalousis and General Director of Defense Investments and Armaments Theodoros Lagios.

Opposition parties blame Mitsotakis for the scandal and have called for his government to hold snap elections, a measure he rejects.

The European Commission and European Parliament have also said they were closely monitoring developments related to the scandal.



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