Ioannis Starakis, the French-Greek journalist jailed for 18 years in Athens three weeks ago for plotting to overthrow the Greek Regime, flew into Paris on Monday (4 May) hours after he had been pardoned and freed from prison.
GV Paris airport terminal
SV Starakis surrounded by newsmen
SCU Starakis greeted by friends
MV Starakis holding child
MV Starakis at news conference
TRANSCRIPT (SEQ 6):
QUESTION: Were you tortured while in prison in Athens?
QUESTION: What kind of torture?
STARAKIS: The classical type practised almost everywhere else.
QUESTION: Physical and moral?
STARAKIS: Mostly moral.
QUESTION: Were you expecting this release? Were you surprised this morning?
STARAKIS: According to the Greek Press, I should have been released a few days after the end of the trial. Finally the release was slowed down.
QUESTION: You didn't answer my question when I asked one minute ago what you were doing in Athens prior to your arrest. You were there as a journalist?
STARAKIS: Of course.
QUESTION: And you deny the Greek accusation?
QUESTION: What are you going to do after a rest? Will you resume the political struggle like Theodorakis?
STARAKIS: I have no plans at all at the moment.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Ioannis Starakis, the French-Greek journalist jailed for 18 years in Athens three weeks ago for plotting to overthrow the Greek Regime, flew into Paris on Monday (4 May) hours after he had been pardoned and freed from prison.
Mr. Starakis, 29, was one of 34 alleged members of an underground organisation known as Demokratiki Amyna (Democratic Defense) who stood trial from March 27 to April 12 on charges of insurrection.
His release followed a pledge by the Greek Government to the French Foreign Ministry last March that Mr. Starakis, who had dual nationality, would be released after his trial.
He was deprived of his Greek nationality and the regime ordered him to be expelled. He was escorted by security officials from the moment he left prison in the centre of Athens on Monday morning until he boarded the plane for Paris.
Authoritative sources in Athens said on Monday that the delay in freeing Mr. Starakis followed the intervention of M. Jean Jacques Servan-Schreiber, the French radical leader, who last month obtained the release of jailed Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis.
M. Servan-Schreiber attacked the Greek regime after returning to Paris with Theodorakis. When he returned to Athens two weeks ago hoping to accompany Mr. Starakis to Paris, the authorities refused to hand him over.
Mr. Starakis spoke to newsmen in Paris about his ordeal: