Defamation trial opens in Greece over Venus cover

AP News
Posted: Nov 29, 2011 9:41 AM
Defamation trial opens in Greece over Venus cover

A German magazine has gone on trial in Athens over a satirical cover that raised hackles in debt-crippled Greece with a doctored picture of an ancient Greek goddess raising her middle finger to Europeans.

The Focus weekly's publisher and twelve journalists have been charged with defamation and insulting a national symbol. Judges on Tuesday rejected bids to dismiss the defamation charges.

Focus enraged many in Greece with its February 2010 cover that showed the iconic Venus de Milo statue, draped in a Greek flag, making the lewd gesture next to the headline "Cheats in the European family."

The charges, which carry a maximum two-year prison sentence, followed a complaint by a group of Greek lawyers. Focus magazine has denied the charges.

The trial resumes on Dec. 9. None of the defendants was in court Tuesday.