Soccer Star Sentenced to 10 Months in Prison for Voicing His Thoughts on Transgender People

Retired Greek soccer star Vasilis Tsiartas was sentenced Thursday to 10 months in prison for comments he made several years ago on social media that were deemed “transphobic.”

The former midfielder for AEK Athens FC as well as the Greek national team posted his opposition to pro-transgender legislation on Facebook in 2017, the Greek City Times reported.

“I wish that the first gender changes will be made by the children of those who voted for this disgrace,” Tsiartas said. “Let’s see with what pride they will have. PS Legalize the pedophiles and complete the crimes.”

Tsiartas added, “God created Adam and Eve.”

He was subsequently sued by Greek trans activist Marina Galanou, according to Thema News.

The Single-Member Misdemeanor Court of Athens deemed Tsiartas’ comments a violation of the nation’s hate crimes law and sentenced him to serve 10 months in prison and pay a fine of about $5,000, the Greek City Times reported.

The Greek Reporter said it was “the first sentencing to implement the anti-racist law 927/1979 for public incitement to violence or hatred on the basis of gender identity.”

Tsiartas tweeted on Friday that he would appeal the court’s decision.

The Greek Transgender Support Association described his conviction and sentence as “particularly important for the transgender community,” the Greek Reporter said.

Many others, however, condemned the court’s decision.

In response to the retired soccer player’s tweet after the ruling on Friday, one Twitter user posted that “3 words characterize the court decision: censorship, Middle Ages, totalitarian regimes.”

Another user posted that Tsiartas “will be acquitted in the Court of Appeal. The decision was wrong and hasty and the law violates your right to free speech guaranteed by the ECHR. DO NOT back down.”

The Greek Reporter said Tsiartas is “considered one of the greatest Greek football players of all time.”

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.