NATIONAL NEWS - South African businessperson Adam Catzavelos, who went on a racist rant using the k-word while on holiday on a Greek island, is facing double the trouble, since he could be facing prosecution in both South Africa and Greece.
Catzavelos’s SA case was postponed to July 10 and his attorney Lawley Shain told the media outside court yesterday that the businessperson had received a letter from Greek authorities.
They were waiting for the letter to be translated to get a clear understanding of the charges that country may be bringing against him.
According to attorney Richard Chemaly, both Greece and SA have grounds to prosecute Catzavelos.
“Greece has hate speech laws on its statute books, specifically Law 4285/2014.
“The laws are more focused on avoiding incitement and physical racial hatred, but since the incident happened in Greece, it’s up to Greek local authorities to determine whether the actions warrant an attempt at prosecution,” said Chemaly.
He said the action of sending the video to South Africa despite being in a foreign country will likely be enough to establish jurisdiction for a SA court.
“I’m not convinced that, in the broader context, there is any reason why either a South African, Greek, or both authorities can’t prosecute him,” he said.
Chemaly said even if Catzavelos was unlikely to face external prosecution, this was an opportunity for authorities to put aside what might make little sense in terms of resource expenditure in the interest of sending a message of condemnation.
Catzavelos, who appeared at the Randburg Magistrate’s Court yesterday, offered a public apology through the media.
“In my moment of madness that I had last year, I am completely embarrassed and utterly ashamed at what I did and what I said. I express my sympathy and sorrow to anyone whose dignity was harmed,” said Catzavelos.
Catzavelos became known in August last year when a video in which he used the k-word while celebrating the fact that there were no black people at the beach during his holiday appeared.
The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) opened a crimen injuria case against him.
EFF Gauteng leader Mandisa Mashego said outside the court that they were happy with the cooperation by the SA Police Service (SAPS) and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) form investigating the case.
She said they wanted to make an example out of Catzavelos and would use this case as a deterrent to other possible racists.
“What we want is a deterrent, to get stronger sentences,” said Mashego.
NPA spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane said the postponement was to allow his lawyer to make representations to the national director of public prosecutions (DPP).
She said the process would require the DPP to review an earlier decision taken by the senior public prosecutor of Randburg.
She said the NPA had no information about the Greece prosecution, but said they would engage with the SAPS and other relevant authorities to verify the claims.