Multi-Society Statement in Support of Prosecuted Greek Statisticians
As head of the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) from 2010 to 2015, Andreas Georgiou is widely credited with producing the first round of reliable financial statistics in accordance with EU standards. Indeed, statistics produced under his leadership were accepted and published by Eurostat without reservation for five consecutive years. Yet, he and two of his ELSTAT colleagues have faced numerous legal proceedings for their ELSTAT work. Despite numerous professional and oversight entities expressing concern to the Greek government and calling for a halt, the legal proceedings against them continue. Georgiou's data showed the Greek deficit and debt to be larger than previous figures for the years up to and including 2009, which had been provided by the Greek government. The previous figures persistently misreported economic data in the years leading up to the Greek and European debt crises and are considered by European Union and international institutions to have contributed to the emergence of the economic hard times. Because of the austerity measures being experienced by the Greek people, Georgiou and his colleagues have been scapegoated in a classic case of shooting the messenger.

For more background on the Andreas Georgiou case, please see summary of the Court proceedings against Andreas Georgiou (goo.gl/ZvrwWL), by Gerry O'Hanlon and Hallgrímur Snorrason, posted to the website of the International Statistical Institute; this August Significance Magazine article (goo.gl/VLoYV6): or this June ASA blog entry that is updated periodically (goo.gl/aTSAJ8). Any questions on this statement can be directed to Steve Pierson, Director of Science Policy, American Statistical Association, pierson@amstat.org.

For individual sign-on, please go to https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScUjBzRqGqAX-Pgvebnifn8algg6A9Y5aN5XsWIC1FZOhZnJg/viewform?usp=sf_link.

We are grateful to the following organizations who, as of December 18, have added their support to the statement below:
American Educational Research Association
American Sociological Association
American Statistical Association
Association of Public Data Users
Bernoulli Society for Mathematical Statistics and Probability
Center for Human Rights Science, Carnegie Mellon University
Center for Liberal Studies - Markos Dragoumis
Committee of Presidents of Statistical Societies
Council of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics
Dimiourgia, xana! (Greek political party)
Eastern North American Region (ENAR) of the International Biometric Society
Haver Analytics
Human Rights Data Analysis Group
Institute of Mathematical Statistics
International Association for Statistical Education
International Association for Official Statistics
International Association for Research in Income and Wealth
International Association of Survey Statisticians
International Statistical Institute
Kent Consultancy Ltd (UK)
National Association for Business Economics
Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics
Statistical Society of Canada / Société statistique du Canada
Statistics Iceland
The International Environmetrics Society

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We the undersigned organizations and individuals call on Greek authorities to halt the legal proceedings against Andreas Georgiou, the former president of the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT), and other senior ELSTAT officials for their ELSTAT work under Georgiou’s leadership 2010-2015. The Government deficit and debt figures, produced by ELSTAT under Dr. Georgiou’s stewardship, have been validated numerous times by Eurostat as complying with the highest international standards. Further, Dr. Georgiou during his tenure leading ELSTAT strictly followed the best practice statistical principles enshrined in European Union and Greek law.

The continued prosecutions of Dr. Georgiou for his work, many times after findings of innocence—amount 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 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.”*

In summary, we call on Greek authorities to drop its prosecutions of Dr. Georgiou and his colleagues, exonerate them of past convictions, and drop ongoing investigations relating to their official ELSTAT work. Further, the Greek Government should apologize on behalf of the Greek State to Dr. Georgiou for the appalling treatment he and his colleagues have endured over a protracted period at the hands of the Greek State for essentially doing their duty to the highest standards.

*https://www.aaas.org/page/committee-scientific-freedom-and-responsibility

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