From: Macedonian Press Agency, Greece
Official Press Release
“The Life of Jesus”, a comic book published by Oxy publications, was confiscated from major Athens bookstores by men of the Attica State Security yesterday, after the decision of the Court of First Instance DA Maria Mallouchou, on January 30, 2003. The DA, calling on provisions of the law on “insulting religion in the press”, ordered the preliminary investigation be completed within 40 days from the day the case brief is received, that all copies be confiscated under article 14 of the Constitution, and that an investigation take place on the possible punishable act of advertising drugs.
Publisher Nikos Chatzopoulos went to the DA today to testify concerning the charges against himself, the author, the translator and the legal representative of Oxy publications.
In an announcement, Oxy publications mentioned that the book is an artistic cartoon and is neither insulting nor shocking, in its text or its illustration, but purely humoristic. The announcement, made known to the Minister of Culture, referred to an “unprecedented, in this day and age, censorship and deprivation of the right of freedom of expression and freedom of the press”, and it is noted that the last time this happened was more than 20 years ago, in 1981, with the publication of a book by the Marquis de Sade.
“The Life of Jesus”, by Gerhard Haderer, was published in Greek in December 2002. Its author and illustrator is the main illustrator of the well known Stern, Geo, Profil and Trend magazines. The announcement stressed that book is a very caustic comment on the commercialization of religion, and as such, it strengthens real religious convictions.
The book has been published in Germany, England, Spain, Portugal, France, Sweden, Holland and Austria, where it was particularly successful, selling approximately 80,000 copies, and although it did disturb some people, it was not taken off the market since it is a cartoon, mentioned the announcement.