Last edited: February 12, 2005

Gay Trial Begins in Athens Newscenter in London, October 13, 2001

By Jon ben Asher

Athens—The trial of seven men accused of having gay sex began Friday in Athens. Most homosexual acts are still illegal in Greece.

The men are charged with "engaging in indecent acts between males for financial gain". If convicted they face up to five years’ imprisonment.

While prostitution by women is no longer illegal, male hustling is.

As the trial began, Amnesty International called on the Greek Minister of Justice to drop the charges, and decriminalize gay sex.

In a letter to Professor Mihailis Stathopoulos, Amnesty said: "We urge the Greek government to drop all charges under Article 347 brought against the above men who are all over the age of consent."

"All people have the fundamental right not to be discriminated against on the basis of sex, which includes sexual orientation," the letter said.

Amnesty said it considers the accused to be Prisoners of Conscience.

The human rights group said that it believed the trial was a violation of The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms both of which were signed by Greece.

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