Photojournalists in Greece on Tuesday accused Facebook of censorship after pictures of a protest in support of an imprisoned far-left hitman on hunger strike were removed from their account with suspension warnings.
The health of Dimitris Koufodinas, who is serving multiple life sentences, has deteriorated sharply with a 53-day hunger strike in order to be transferred from a high-security prison to another to be near his family.
Facebook has said that the posts on Koufodinas go “against our standards on dangerous individuals and organisations” as it seeks to avoid promoting terrorists or extremists.
At least three photographers protested Facebook’s decision to remove photos they took of around 3,000 people who protested in Athens on Monday to seek his release.
“Facebook has taken down my post for violating the terms of the community,” Tatiana Bolari, who works for Greek photo agency Eurokinissi, said on her Facebook page on Tuesday.
“So, this protest did NOT happen…I WASN’T there and NEITHER was anyone else,” she said sarcastically.
Lefteris Partsalis, a freelancer, said he had been banned from posting live for a month after uploading pictures of the Monday demonstration.
He said Facebook had “censored a post describing what happened in the streets of Athens yesterday, not a post expressing support to anyone.”
“Thousands of people gathered and protested peacefully,” he said.
Marios Lolos, a photographer with Chinese agency Xinhua, said his own photos had also been removed.
Prominent rights lawyer Thanassis Kampagiannis, who has participated in the protests, last month said that Facebook also imposed restrictions on his account.
Koufodinas, formerly the top assassin for the defunct November 17 far-left group, is seeking a transfer from a high-security prison in central Greece to Korydallos prison in Athens.
The prisoner, who is serving multiple life sentences for eleven murders, has been on hunger strike since January and his health is in critical condition.
Koufodinas’ supporters have staged several protests and vandalised ministers’ offices in recent weeks.