Child pornography ring members face felony charges

Date Published: 01/28/2009
Publication: Athens News Agency

Four of the eleven men arrested for involvement in a big child pornography ring broken by the Greek police have been charged with felonies, authorities announced on Tuesday.

The four are Spyros Symeonidis, Charalambos Charalambidis, Phaedon Hasiotis and Giorgos Iliopoulos. Their names were made public by the prosecutor, based on legislation that allows such a move in the case of crimes against minors.

A total of 24 people across the country were accused of possessing and trafficking hard-core child porn on the internet following an investigation that lasted roughly three months, it was announced on Tuesday.

Eleven men were arrested, among them Archimandrite Fotis Makrystathis, aged 44, who is a priest in the Peloponnese but was taken into custody in Attica prefecture. He was charged by a Piraeus prosecutor with repeated criminal counts of habitually using and distributing child pornography over the Internet.

He asked for and received a 48-hour postponement to answer the charges, during which time he will be held in police custody.

Police tracked 137 electronic traces on the Internet that belonged to a total of 35 users in Greece, who in fact were the 24 suspects indicted as some of them used more than one electronic address.

The Greek users had bought or attempted to buy access and membership rights on VIP websites by using credit cards.

Police have confiscated a total of 28 computer hard-drives, 8 portable PCs and a large number of DVDs with a capacity of 28,000 GB.

The investigation on the case was launched after a relative document was forwarded by the London Metropolitan Police via Interpol, informing police authorities that following a global investigation on the Internet it had traced over 200 websites for VIP members with hard-core material involving small children.

The users were trafficking explicit child pornography material showing among others even 6-month-old babies, with their hands tied behind their backs, in sexual activity with minors.