AP Photojournalist Denounces Illegal Detention

GreeceGIAKOYMIDIS Life_HeraNikolas Giakoumidis, photojournalist for Associated Press, filed a signed complaint against the way he was treated by the police in Thessaloniki on May 21.

Giakoumidis complained that while he was taking photographs of a homeless man sleeping on a bench near Aristotelous Square, a police officer asked if he had permission to take photographs of the specific man. The photojournalist showed his professional ID, but was led to the police station.

In his complaint Giakoumidis reported,”Being an Associated Press photojournalist, I was informed on the phone by a colleague journalist that a homeless man was sleeping on a bench with a guitar next to him at Tsimiski street. By chance, I was very close to the spot and I arrived there within a few minutes.”

“Five minutes later, police officer Themistoklis Papouknas appeared in front of me and started posing questions. He pointed out that I was taking too many photographs and asked me if I had the homeless man’s permission to photograph him.”

He explained that he showed his professional IDs. The policeman said there was an anonymous complaint against him because he was taking photos of the Eurobank clients across the street.

“Within three minutes, I was surrounded by policemen on motorcycles. I asked them what was happening and they answered  they would transfer me to the Police Department,” he added. During his detention, he said the policemen tried to humiliate him as a person and as a professional, and a little after he was set free.

“After 31 years I have been working as a photojournalist, with professional results that are beyond Greek borders, I decided to take legal action in order to protect my personality and my professional entity,” Giakoumidis concluded.