ATHENS, September 10 (RIA Novosti) - The Greek Parliament has approved a new anti-racism bill that criminalizes the denial of the Holocaust and the Greek, Armenian and Assyrian genocides.
A bill introducing penalties for those who incite violence or hatred on the grounds of race, religion and ethnic origin, was adopted by the Greek parliament on Tuesday. In addition, the new law makes it illegal to deny the genocides of Jews, Armenians, Assyrians and Ottoman Greeks.
Parties or associations supporting racism may be deprived of state funding for a period of one to six months and receive fines up to 100,000 euros (just under $130,000). Individuals promoting racism may receive fines of up to 30,000 euros (about $39,000). Hate crimes will be punished by up to three years’ imprisonment.
Representatives from the ruling coalition, consisting of the New Democracy and PASOK parties, voted in favor of the bill. The Democratic Left party and some independent members of the parliament also welcomed the new measures.
The left-wing opposition abstained from voting or voted against the bill. The Greek Communist Party stated that the new law would criminalize the labor movement and the Communist ideology under the guise of fighting racism.
The far-right Golden Dawn party also voted against, stating that the law could be used to target not only racists, but all those opposed to the ruling regime.
Greek officials have worked on the bill for nearly two years, which is part of an effort to harmonize Greek laws with European Union standards. The Ministry of Justice added denial of genocides to the list of crimes upon request of 38 New Democracy parliamentarians.