Greece: Blasphemy Case, the Court of Appeal of Athens, reversing the judgment of the Court of First Instance(25 April 2005)
On 13 April 2005, in a famous blasphemy case, the Court of Appeal of Athens, reversing the judgment of the Court of First Instance, acquitted the author of The Life of Jesus, Mr. Gerhard Haderer. It also ordered the return of the confiscated books to Oxy Publishing S.A, the Greek publisher of The Life of Jesus. The IPA and International PEN welcome Haderer’s acquittal, which it had called for.
Gerhard Haderer was tried alongside his Greek publisher, and four booksellers, on charges of blasphemy. The trial started in December 2003, and had temporarily concluded in first instance, on 18 January 2005, with the conviction of Haderer to a six-month suspended sentence and the acquittal of the publisher and booksellers.
The Life of Jesus is an illustrated book with humorous intent. The Greek courts had initially considered its depiction of Jesus as a hippie as defamation and ridicule. The book has been published in a number of other countries without controversy or judicial action.