Leith unfurled Tibet's flag during the protest ©Getty Images

The trial of a human rights activist who staged a protest during the Beijing 2022 Lighting Ceremony in Greece has been given a new date of December 1.

Jason Leith was one of three activists who waved Tibetan flags in the precincts of the ancient site in Olympia on the day of the Ceremony.

The trial was initially set for February 3, the eve of the Winter Olympics, but it was adjourned at the last moment at the Pyrgos District Court and put back to December 1.

This sparked suspicions that the date was altered to avoid embarrassment to the Chinese Government.

"Just before the Olympics, it was likely to be in the media and get a lot of attention," Leith said. 

"If the trial happens once the Olympics are over, its chances of being noticed are much slimmer.

"It really feels like there has been outside pressure to try and increase (the) charge to give us actual jail sentences." 

International lawyer Michael Polak who runs Justice Abroad and is a specialist in human rights, flew to Greece to speak on behalf of the defendants.

His request for the hearing to be conducted was rejected by the court.

Leith (right) protested at Olympia during the Flame Lighting Ceremony ©Getty Images
Leith (right) protested at Olympia during the Flame Lighting Ceremony ©Getty Images

"We’d say that this matter is being adjourned so that the court wouldn’t have to give a decision on the eve of the Beijing Olympics," Polak told Press Association.

"Greece’s Government is one of the Governments in Europe which is most closely connected to China. It looks very suspicious."

In Greece, causing damage to an archaeological site can carry a sentence of five years in jail.

"We didn’t go with any intention of any destruction and it didn’t happen," Leith insisted.

"We went to have our voices heard and to stand with the people whose voices can’t be heard.

"Obviously the thought of spending any amount of time in prison, especially one not in this country, is scary, but at the same time I stand by what I did.

"I would do it again in a heartbeat."

During the Lighting Ceremony, three protesters unveiled flags and banners before police moved in to stop them.

"It was probably a minute before we were pushed to the ground by security and police who were at Olympia," Leith said.

The activists, included an American and a Tibetan-Canadian, who spent two nights in custody before being released, lawyers have said.