The Vienna-based South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI), condemned the detention and alleged hitting of Dimitri Popota, a journalist with the Athens–based weeklyProtothema.
On 7 August 2012, Popota was covering the transfer of a high-profile rape suspect from the police station to the court house on the island of Syros in the Aegean Sea. He attempted to take a photograph of the suspect as he was escorted from the police station to the court house when a police officer allegedly hit his hand. Showing his journalist credentials did not help: Popota was detained without any explanation, according to witnesses interviewed by SEEMO. An hour later he was released.
As a reporter who specialises in covering crime, Popota has special accreditation issued by the Ministry of the Interior.
“Journalists cannot be hit and detained arbitrarily,” SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic said. “I hope that this incident will be investigated and the perpetrator brought to justice.”