Greek Cleaning Lady Jail Sentence for Forged Certificate Commuted

A banner supporting the cleaning lady in Ioannina, April 8, 2019. (Photo by Eurokinissi/Leonidas Bakolas)

ATHENS – An eight-year prison sentence for a Greek cleaning lady who forced a certificate saying she had gone far enough in elementary school to be eligible for a job was commuted to a three-year suspended sentence by an Appeals Court.

With people accused of major crimes like embezzlement being released from pre-detention jail after claiming they were ill the case of the woman became a cause celebre, with critics saying the harsh sentence was unfair given lenient treatment for political figures charged with crimes.

The mother of 13, from Ioannina in northwestern Greece, had started working at the city’s university hospital in 2003, but was charged and convicted of falsifying her primary school certificate so she could get a job to support her family.

The court found her guilty of making a false statement and forgery that cost the state 120,000 euros ($134,885) – although she performed her job and the amount is a smidgeon of what others involved in major scandals were charging with stealing.

The court noted her record was otherwise clean and commuted her sentence. She was not identified but reportedly thanked the court and the people who supported her.