Striking and angry feelings are triggered by the arrest of a 75-year-old German radio-amateur in Kos island, whose case was inflated by the authorities and the media to be presented as "espionage" and end up in court based on a forgotten law of 1929. However, the gaffe by police and prosecutors was revealed when it was proved that the retired tourist was operating fully licensed devices.
The Greek police arrested the German radio-amateur Baldur Drobnika (identified as DJ6SI) in Mastichari of Kos, with the allegations that he had installed an "illegal telegraph". The 75-year-old was arrested at 1am of Monday, in the hotel room where he spent his vacation with his also elderly wife, who is suffering from Alzheimer's. The complaint was submitted apparently because the equipment and the antenna set up outside the hotel caused some impression. During the arrest, as the old man told the court, he panicked and tried to destroy the machines.
The German citizen was arrested, but he was allowed to contact a lawyer just 48 hours after the arrest and half an hour before the trial; the public prosecutor, despite seeing the license, suggested that he should be convicted for operating an illegal telegraph, following the 1929 law that only allows the use of public telegraph by the state. The lawyer finally managed to move the trial date for June 7, after the court wanted to see an official translation of Baldur's license from German into Greek. The chairman of the Radio Amateur Association of Greece contacted the lawyer of Baldur and suggested all the latest ministerial decisions on legislation for radio amateurs.
The most outrageous part of the story are probably the publications featured on local blogs and websites which suggested that the 75-year-old man was affiliated with the German secret service and thus is a "spy". The radio-amateur himself, said that he intends to bring the matter to the European courts and the International Union of IARU.
The Radio Amateur Association of Greece made an angry statement, claiming that the responsibility should be attributed to the officer "that ignoring laws and regulations arrested him and led him to court" and the prosecutor "who was quick to suggest his conviction based on a legislation of 1927, in the year 2012". They also point out that radio amateurs have been complaining for years to the responsible Ministry that public services and institutions and particularly Police have not been informed properly about HAM radio. "It is their duty to inform all relevant authorities for the ham radio operation"
"Finally, the event can be seen as a action against tourism, as it will only succeed to degrade the wave of tourists who arrive in our country. A few years ago, a similar case, again in Kos, ended up with an English radio-amateur being arrested; he later published a commentary in RADCOM, the journal of the National Association of RSGB, where he more or less discouraged the British radio-amateurs to travel for their HAM radio activities to Greece."