ATHENS – A suspended 12-year jail sentence after for prominent Greek actor and former National Theatre Director Dimitris Lignadis for the rape of minors drew outrage from victims as he was released.
His release came after his conviction for raping two men when they were underage but a third case against the 57-year-old was dropped for insufficient evidence and a fourth accuser who gave a false address never showed.
Lignadis spent 17 months in pre-trial detention but successfully argued for a suspended sentence and no jail time despite the seriousness of the conviction and was freed on 30,000 euros ($30,131) bail.
He must register three times a month at his police station but otherwise is free to be out and about with no other conditions, bringing dismay in the courtroom from the victims and some members of the public.
Lignadis, who has denied the charges, resigned his position as artistic director when the accusations were brought in 2021 and there were cries he was being politically protected by friends in high places.
The decision came in a mixed jury court that found him guilty of rapes in 2010 and 2015 but he’s appealing the verdict while out on bail and has denied all the charges against him, saying, “The truth will be established,” said Kathimerini.
The release drew the attention of the Athens Appeals Prosecutor’s Office which is said to be considering appealing his release although it was done under a leniency law passed by the former ruling Radical Left SYRIZA.
That was passed in the waning days of the Leftists 4 1/2-year rule that ended in July, 2019 in a defeat to New Democracy, after downgrading many felonies to misdemeanors in a bid to free more people from jail, said aimed at trying to help terrorists and anarchists who are darlings to many in SYRIZA.
The SYRIZA law requires even those convicted of serious crimes to get out of jail or avoid going if certain conditions are met, such as not being a flight risk and having a permanent residence although it wasn’t said how many are benefiting.