ASA Circulates Statement to Halt Legal Proceedings Against Georgiou, Colleagues

The ASA is circulating a sign-on statement in support of Andreas Georgiou—the former head of the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT)—and his colleagues, who continue to face charges of wrongdoing by the Greek government for revising inaccurate and misleading deficit and debt figures for the years up to and including 2009. The statement is being disseminated broadly for sign-on and will be released in the coming months.

Specifically, the statement calls on Greek authorities to immediately halt legal proceedings against Georgiou and his colleagues and notes the detriment of the prosecutions on the country’s economy and the field of science:

The continued prosecutions of Dr. Georgiou for his work, many times after findings of innocence—amount[ing] to double or even potentially triple jeopardy—are troubling on multiple levels. The prosecutions undermine the current production of Greek statistical figures, which in turn undermine[s] Greece’s efforts to end its cycles of economic crises and attract foreign investment. Trusted, credible statistical data are a cornerstone of a well-functioning democracy and a healthy economy. The prosecutions also violate the scientific freedom and human rights of Dr. Georgiou and his colleagues to present their scientifically derived statistical data without interference and to “extend and disseminate knowledge for the good of humanity.”

The ASA is asking for both organizational and individual sign-on by December 31.

This step is the latest in a series of actions by the ASA to express support for Georgiou and the process and value of calculating official statistics. In August, the ASA expressed outrage over another conviction for Georgiou and, last March, the ASA issued a statement urging the Greek government to take all actions necessary to publicly defend against any efforts to undermine the credibility of the Greek statistics produced by Georgiou and his former colleagues.

For details about this situation, read the background document produced by the International Statistical Institute and an interview with Georgiou recently featured in Significance magazine.