Attorney Tashya Giyapersad emphasised that Catzavelos may only be prosecuted along those lines in Greece.
The Johannesburg-based businessman came under fire this week after his video using the k-word was leaked on social media. Catzavelos is heard saying: “Let me give you a weather forecast here; blue skies, beautiful day, amazing sea and not one k****r in sight. F****** heaven on earth.”
Greek organisations in South Africa lambasted him. Federation of Hellenic Communities and Societies of South Africa president John Philippou, said: “Catzavelos’s comments are personal and in no way reflect the opinions of South African Hellenes.”
Renowned South African journalist of Greek descent, Katy Katopodis, called on fellow South African Greeks to condemn Catzavelos, saying: “Many South Africans could now paint all white people and those of Greek descent with the same brush.
“No one can remain silent.”
Prominent criminal lawyer, advocate Zola Majavu, said it would be a long shot to prosecute Catzavelos in South Africa. “The offence was committed in a foreign country so you can’t prosecute him here unless it’s also an offence where he recorded the video. Then you can have him extradited.”
The EFF in Gauteng has opened a criminal case against Catzavelos. But police spokesperson Colonel Brenda Muridili said the investigation would have to be escalated to Interpol.
In 2014, an amendment was adopted to the law Combating Race Discrimination in Greece. The jail term is from three months to three years and the maximum fine is 20000 euros (R330000).
After being booted out of the family business, Catzavelos apologised. “I have watched my video and feel total shame. It’s hard to put into words what I want to say and genuinely apologise. I don’t expect people to forgive me, but I will spend the rest of my life repenting and trying to make up for my total lack of respect and judgement,” he said.
But the South African government urged law enforcement agencies to take action. Government Communication and Information System acting director-general Phumla Williams said: “His comments display one of the most despicable forms of racism. It’s an insult to human dignity.”