Jailed Greek Cleaning Lady Released, 10-Year Sentence Reviewed

(Photo by Eurokinissi/Yiannis Panagopoulos)

ATHENS – A kindergarten Greek cleaning lady who was given a 10-year jail sentence for forging a certificate saying she had a sixth grade education was released from jail on health grounds while her sentence, condemned by critics for being too harsh, is being looked at again.

A court in Larissa, central Greece, earlier this month sentenced the 53-year-old, who had worked in a publicly-funded nursery for 15 years, the jail sentence on charges of defrauding the public although others who committed the same crime weren’t prosecuted or even fired in some cases.

Blistered by public outrage, Supreme Court prosecutor Xeni Dimitriou said she will speed a review of the case and sentence. She intervened to have another judicial consideration of the sentence which sparked fury from unions, rights group and political parties.

he country’s supreme court prosecutor last week said it would re-examine the ruling – which has
Speaking to reporters outside the court, the 53-year-old, who wasn’t identified, said she was in a bad psychological condition. She said her actions had been driven by the need to provide for her children as her husband is disabled.

She had been sentenced by a court to 15 years – the same as some of those convicted in the killing of an American tourist – but it was released to 10 years after an appeal before the revelation sparked a furor.

“This decision is not simply inhuman. It is another very indicative sign of permanent pathogens in the criminal justice system,” the Hellenic League for Human Rights said in a statement before the decision to release her.

Prime Minister and Radical Left SYRIZA Alexis Tsipras, a self-declared champion of the poor and vulnerable – who ordered the re-hiring of 600 cleaning ladies who were protesting outside the Finance Ministry as soon as he took power in 2015 – has said nothing about the case yet.