ATHENS – A Supreme Court prosecutor said a Greek cleaning lady in an elementary school who got her job by saying she had finished the fifth grade instead of the fourth should have her 10-year jail sentence revoked.
She had been sent to prison for falsifying her elementary school certificate although other higher-ranking managers in civil service who had done the same hadn’t, infuriating critics over the double standard.
Addressing a hearing of the 54-year-old cleaner’s appeal against the sentence, Deputy Prosecutor Olga Smyrli said woman should not be punished under laws aimed at punishing those found guilty of defrauding the state because her offense was a “one-off and not continuous,” as cases of people faking credentials goes on.
The cleaner, whose sentence was suspended pending her appeal, told reporters outside the courthouse that she was eager to go back to work and sorry for her offense, which she said she committed in order to support her children.
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.
The Supreme Court had already revoked a sentence against another cleaner from Chios who was given a six-month suspended prison sentence for a similar case of forgery that cost her job.