COURT CLEARS GREENPEACE OVER FACTORY OCCUPATION
"Greek justice has once again judged that the environment is an important
good that needs protection and, by consequence, it needs citizens to protect
- Greenpeace lawyer Anita Politaki
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Court clears Greenpeace activists - NEWS 24 - 14 November 2000
Athens - A court in eastern Greece found 13 Greenpeace activists innocent on Monday of charges of forcing their way into and occupying a factory which the environmental group accused of importing genetically-modified soya.
Twelve activists, including seven Greeks, two Britons, a Turk, a German and an Irish man were charged by the Khalkis court on Euboea island with forcible entry into the Soya Hellas factory.
The 12 had chained themselves to the factory gate, blocking entry to the site. The company, the most important Greek importer of soya beans, pressed charges the next day.
About 30 activists, supported by the ship MV Greenpeace entered the factory the next day. They climbed a silo and hung a 200-square-metre (about 667 square-foot) banner reading "genetic danger."
Another activist, Nikos Haralambidis, the chief of Greenpeace operations in Greece, was charged as the "moral instigator" of the group.
The court deferred the trial of Greenpeace's Greek office director, Stelios Psomas, also charged with "moral instigation," due to an error in the judicial process.
"Greek justice has once again judged that the environment is an important good that needs protection and, by consequence, it needs citizens to protect it," Greenpeace lawyer Anita Politaki said.
Analysis of the soya beans in the factory's silo "showed that they were genetically-modified," Greenpeace said.
Soya Hellas stated that it "always follows legal procedures in the importation of soy into Greece in accordance with Greek and (European) community regulations."
Greenpeace was defiant on Monday, releasing a statement saying that Soya Hellas "still refuses to satisfy the demands of consumers and producers. It thus forces us to consume genetically-modified products and transforms us into guinea pigs ... of genetic engineering."
The environmental organisation says that Greece began importing genetically-modified
soya four years ago. Greece imports more than 400 000 tonnes of soya each