New draft law of Penal code abolishes petty offences inter alia for malicious blasphemy and religious insult.

April 5, 2019 – According to Romfea News, a series of changes having a severe impact on Greek society will emerge from the abolition of the petty offenses with the new draft law of the Penal Code if it remains unchanged and not amended within the framework of consultation. The new draft law is dealing with the revision of the Penal Code, in accordance with the recommendation of the Legislative Committee set up by the former Minister of Justice, namely, inter alia, the abolition of Articles 198, 199 and 201 of the Penal Code relating to malicious blasphemy, religious insult, and verbal outrage of a dead person.

On this issue, the Standing Holy Synod of the Church of Greece, at its recent session, decided to intervene by noting in a relevant press release: “[…] [this] would have negative impact on the good of the religious and social peace. It is a matter that concerns all the religions in our county”.

In particular, with respect to faith, religion and Church, the following articles are abolished: 1. Malicious blasphemy and defamation in any way against God and religion (Articles 198-199); 2. Verbal outrage of the dead (Article 201). The aforementioned promoted changes mean that any person has the right without running the risk of being attributed any sanction to:

  1. Insult publicly and in any way God;
  2. Blaspheme publicly the religion;
  3. Blaspheme publicly and maliciously and by any means the Greek Orthodox Church or any other religion tolerable in Greece;
  4. Attack verbally a dead.
  5. Act blasphemously and improperly toward a grave, as well as a bunch of other delinquent, in our opinion, behaviors that to date are at least considered punishable and subjected to criminal prosecution.

As noted by experts, it is noteworthy that, once the consultation has concluded on the draft laws (Penal Code and Code of Criminal Procedure), the MPs will not vote on each article of the draft law separately but they will vote the draft law as a whole in one sitting of the Parliament. If that is the case, the MPs will not be able to vote on each article regardless of whether they agree or disagree.

Source(s):

Romfea.News –  5 March 2019, “Free to blaspheme the religion and the dead?”

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