Greek TV debate attacker sues victims

ATHENS Mon Jun 11, 2012 7:33pm IST

Ilias Kasidiaris (2nd R), spokesman for the Golden Dawn party arrives at a courthouse in Athens June 11, 2012. REUTERS/Panayiotis Tzamaros/Files

Ilias Kasidiaris (2nd R), spokesman for the Golden Dawn party arrives at a courthouse in Athens June 11, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Panayiotis Tzamaros/Files

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ATHENS (Reuters) - A Greek far-right politician who slapped a left-wing politician in the face and threw water at another during a live television talk show sued his victims for defamation on Monday.

Ilias Kasidiaris, spokesman of the far-right Golden Dawn party, said he would also sue private TV station Antenna for wrongful detention after he was locked in a room in the studio following the attack until he broke down the door and escaped.

Kasidiaris shocked viewers last week with the attack on Rena Dourou, a deputy in the radical leftist SYRIZA party and Liana Kanelli, a veteran communist deputy, during a heated debate ahead of national elections on June 17.

The 31 year-old former army commando went into hiding after the assault but issued a statement at the weekend blaming the two middle-aged women for deliberately provoking him into the attack.

"I have come to the prosecutor today to file a lawsuit against Mrs Kanelli and Mrs Dourou for unprovoked defamation, and against TV station Antenna for my illegal detention," Kasidiaris, dressed in a white shirt and dark sunglasses, told reporters outside the court.

Golden Dawn denies being a neo-Nazi party but its image has been severely dented by continuously replayed footage of the incident as well as a variety of other pictures showing party members splashed with fake blood, making Nazi-style salutes or grinning next to an oven at the Nazi death camp Auschwitz.

Speaking at the opening of the party's offices in an Athens suburb on Sunday, Kasidiaris said he had been set up and was acting in self-defence after Kanelli threw a newspaper at him.

"I never expected that I would be hit in the face on live TV," he said. "I did what millions of Greeks would have done - when you get hit in the face you have to defend yourself."

Kasidiaris was already due to stand trial on Monday on separate charges - which he denies - of helping assailants attack an assistant university professor in 2007 but that trial was postponed to September.

Golden Dawn, which uses an ancient Greek symbol resembling the swastika as its logo, won 7 percent in the inconclusive May 6 election, promising to rid Greece of illegal immigrants and seal its borders with landmines.

(Reporting by Karolina Tagaris; Editing by Myra MacDonald)

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