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Investigative journalist brutally assaulted

(GHM/IFEX) - The Greek Helsinki Monitor (GHM) condemns the 23 October 2008 assault on journalist Makis Nodaros, in his home town of Lechaina in Elia (Western Greece). The Elia regional correspondent for the Athens daily "Eleftherotypia", the Patras daily "Imera", the Patras television station Teletime, and the Patras radio station Radio Gamma, and also the host of a daily programme for the Elia radio station Ionian FM, was attacked by two unidentified men at around 11 a.m. (local time) on 23 October as he was returning home after his daily radio programme. They approached him, asked him if he was Makis Nodaros, and then punched and kicked him many times, even after he fell down and was bleeding. The two assailants tried to break his laptop, stole his mobile phone, and then fled on a motorcycle they had hidden near where the incident took place. He was offered first aid treatment at the regional medical center and was diagnosed with head, hand and foot wounds, and later returned home.

The 24 October edition of "Eleftherotypia" called the incident "an assassination attempt," asked "who wants to silence him?" and added that "he annoyed some people with his articles and fell victim to a mafia-type attack."

The journalist has a long record of revealing investigative reporting as well as systematic coverage of human rights issues. For that, he has occasionally been the target of defamation charges and convictions. He has recently published several articles about alleged corruption involving the mayor of the adjacent Elia town of Zacharo. The mayor reportedly succeeded in having him fired from a local Elia newspaper, and has also announced that he is filing lawsuits against Makis Nodaros and the newspapers he published his articles in. The mayor is also the target of judicial and administrative investigations.

GHM calls on the police to promptly and effectively investigate the assault and arrest the perpetrators lest the impression is given that such actions essentially enjoy impunity.

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