A Greek diplomat in Stockholm was recalled to Athens after claiming that Swedish women often cried rape falsely, media said yesterday, amid outrage at reports of discrimination against Swedes in rape cases in Greece. Vassilios Bakalis, the head of economic and commercial affairs at the Greek embassy inStockholm, was reportedly ordered back toAthensshortly after the publication late on Friday of an e-mail he had written accusing Swedish women of using fake rape allegations to make money. Swedes “should be ashamed about the behaviour of Swedish women, on vacation at any part of the world (sic) and with foreign residents in their own country”, Bakalis wrote in the e-mail. “Plenty of taxi drivers in Stockholm have warned me not to take drunk Swedish women to my apartment as there is a high probability ‘they will sue you for rape to get insurance money after they wake up in the morning and realise who you are’.” The e-mail was a response to a message Bakalis received following reports that Greek authorities had decided not to press charges on behalf of a Swedish woman who alleged she was raped during a vacation on the GreekislandofSamosin 2008. Although the woman was examined shortly after the alleged rape at a Swedish hospital where doctors confirmed she had suffered a serious, sexual attack, Greek authorities reportedly have decided to charge her instead for false testimony and slander. In an open letter earlier this week, two Swedish lawyers representing the woman accusedGreeceof violating the European Convention on Human Rights, pointing out that Greek authorities largely based their decision to charge her on their explicit assumption that Scandinavian women often make false rape accusations. According to media reports, the decision to try the woman as well as Bakalis’ statements reflect false rumours inGreecethat Scandinavians can purchase “rape insurance”, believed to prompt fake rape accusations to receive a pay-out. Many Swedes have been outraged by the reports. Embassy spokeswoman Eleftheria Spilotakopoulou meanwhile insisted in a TV4 interview that “whatever has been said by Mr Bakalis does not represent at all the views of the Greek embassy and government”. More than 500,000 Swedish tourists visitGreeceeach year, according to the Swedish foreign ministry.
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Newsline: Swedes up in arms over Greek envoy’s remarks