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Society

Greek Court Defends Releasing Child Molester Under SYRIZA Law

A former basketball coach convicted of sexually molesting 36 boys on the island of Crete was released from prison after a decision by the Misdemeanor Council of Grevena in northern Greece.

Nikos Seiragakis served only eight years of a maximum of 25 after being given a 400-year sentence by a court in 2013, which was upheld on appeal in 2016 when he was released from Grevena Prison on April 22 under a leniency law rushed through Parliament in the last days in 2019 of the former ruling Radical Left SYRIZA.

Almost as soon as he was let out of jail he was arrested again for violating the terms of his release but the council said he didn't and that he shouldn't be returned to jail without explaining why.

Before the law was changed, SYRIZA leniency to violent criminals from a party that has elements who don't want people imprisoned also led to release of Dimitris Aspiotis of Corfu, a serial rapist arrested again for rape this month.

He tried to elude by jumping off a cliff, severely injuring himself. He had been jailed for the rape of six British women, his release and subsequent arrest drawing a hailstorm of outrage.

He was convicted in 2015 and received a 53-year sentence but walked free under the so-called Paraskevopoulos Law named after former SYRIZA justice minister Nikos Paraskevopoulos, the legislation reducing many major crimes to misdemeanors and opening jail doors to even violent criminals.

The law under which Aspiotis was originally released faced wide condemnation in Greece, and was eventually abolished in August 2019 the same year Greece amended the criminal code to recognize that sex without consent is actually rape.

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