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Greek journalist union condemns columnist's arrest for libel lawsuit over political criticism

A Greek journalists' union and the government have condemned the arrest of a journalist over an opinion column about a member of parliament.

Right-wing Independent Greeks lawmaker Rachel Makri made a libel complaint against journalist Despina Kontaraki over her comments in the Sunday edition of Eleftheros Typos newspaper.

The column criticized Makri's stance regarding a scandal in which a close aide to the prime minister was videotaped alleging the prosecution of the extreme right-wing Golden Dawn party was politically motivated. The aide has since resigned.

Police arrested Kontaraki at the newspaper's office Sunday then released her later in the day. Makri also made complaints against two other journalists and two newspaper publishers. They have not been detained so far.

The journalists' union POESY on Monday described Kontaraki's arrest as "unacceptable," adding that arrests for press complaints had been abolished in 2001.

Government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou also criticized Makri for initiating legal proceedings against the press.

"It is unacceptable for a political figure to respond to journalists' criticism with lawsuits and arrests," he said in a statement.