Three Reporters Without Borders representatives, arrested yesterday for unfurling a banner showing the Olympic rings transformed into handcuffs at the official Olympic torch-lighting ceremony in Olympia, Greece, have been freed on bail pending trial on 29 May in Pyrgos (80 km from Olympia).
They are charged with “insulting national symbols” under article 361 of the Greek criminal code, which carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison or a fine.
“This is an absurd and senseless charge,” Reporters Without Borders said. “By making this gesture, we were in no way attacking the Olympic spirit or Greece. We were simply protesting against the policy being carried out in China during this period of heightened repression. We also wanted to brandish the threat of a boycott of the Olympic Games opening ceremony, an initiative we support, and to encourage the International Olympic Committee to urge the Chinese government to respect human rights as called for under the Olympic Charter.”
The three Reporters Without Borders three representatives will hold a news conference today at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris on their arrival on Olympic Airlines flight OA201 from Athens, which is scheduled to land at 12:05 pm.