Steve, N4JQQ

In what has to be one of the strangest international legal
issues involving a ham radio operator, famed German
DXpedition leader Baldur Drobnica, DJ6SI, has been arrested
in Greece. But in a strange turn of events he was permitted
to return to Germany if he promised that he would come back
to Greece for trial. Amateur Radio Newsline's Bill
Pasternak, WA6ITF, is in the newsroom trying to sort it all
Let me start by saying that it is very hard to know what has
really taken place because most of the news sources are
foreign language ham radio blogs and other news reports that
have been electronically translated into English. Also, as
we go to air there comes a purported statement in German
from the person in the center of the controversy, DXer
Baldur Drobnika, DJ6SI. It was posted to by YO4PX
after being translated by DK5KF. As that is the latest
information, lets start there and then take a look at the
rest of the story as it seemed to unfold.
The statement credited to DJ6SI reads as follows:
"June 3rd, 2012, 20:46 (UTC 2)
Dear Michael,
I wasn't charged with espionage. As a reason of my arrest it
was stated that:
1. I performed radio traffic without the approval of the
Greek authorities;
2. I owned transmitting equipment which enabled the
reception of other frequencies;
To the accusation was later added an other point:
I hindered the visualization of the content of my notebook.
I would like to ask you to eliminate the information that I
was arrested for espionage, or to replace it with my
Vy 73 Baldur DJ6SI"
Now, the back story:
According to news reports, 75 year old Baldur Drobnica,
DJ6SI was on holiday on the Greek island of Kos. That's
where he was reportedly taken into custody for the crime of
espionage which was quickly reduced to operating amateur
radio equipment. This, even though both Greece and
Drobnika's home country of Germany are both signatories to
the CEPT pan-European Amateur Radio licensing agreement.
Even so, Greek news reports appear to indicate DJ6SI was
actually arrested under a 1929 Greek law covering illegal
operation of radio telegraph equipment even though the CEPT
agreement would likely superscede the older law.
According to Greek ham radio blogs the accusation of
espionage was based on a complaint that he was "producing
strange noises" with his computer. Those strange noises
turned out to be CW and RTTY. This was corroborated by many
who notice reports of his operation on Internet-based DX
spotting clusters.
Quite quickly the espionage charge appeared to disappear and
the reduced charge under the 1929 law implemented. And in a
strange turn of events, DJ6SI was permitted to return to
Germany but he was told that he must return to Greece to
stand trial on June 7th. That hearing is likely taking
place as this newscast goes to air. But as several Greek
hams have pointed out, DJ6SI would have not been permitted
to leave the country if there were any real case or even a
suspicion that he was engaged in spying activities.
And one Greek ham radio blog took the matter a lot further.
The Radio Amateur Association of Greece issued an angry
statement defending DJ6SI. It claims that the
responsibility for the entire matter should be placed on the
to the shoulders of the officer that ignored laws and
regulations, arrested DJ6SI and led him to court. They also
place blame on the prosecutor who they say was quick to
suggest his conviction based on a law passed in 1927, in
the year 2012.
The hams 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. The
association says that it's the governments duty to inform
all relevant authorities about amateur radio and its
Obviously. This story is far from over.


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