ATHENS – A former justice minister for the previous ruling Radical Left SYRIZA said the party in its last days in office in 2019 rushed through Parliament legislation designed to go easy on criminals.
Stavros Kontonis attacked his own former party before testifying to judicial officials probing his claims the legislation that changed many major crimes from felonies to misdemeanors was designed to protect private interests.
The law was rammed through the Parliament the Leftists controlled shortly before they were ousted in July 7, 2019 snap elections by the New Democracy Conservatives who still haven’t moved to amend all of them.
Kontonis, who served in the SYRIZA-led government from 2016 to 2018, referred to “stigma and shame” over the legislation, said Kathimerini. He resigned over the bill sent to Parliament then.
New Democracy, unable to stop it, wouldn’t vote on the measures that downgraded embezzlement from the state to a minor crime and also moved to go easy on violent criminals and terrorists who are the darling of hard-core elements of the now renamed SYRIZA Progressive Alliance.
Kontonis said the changes to certain provisions of the penal code were made with the purpose of “serving interests,” which he wouldn’t identify without explaining why if he really wanted to out wrongdoing.
SYRIZA, he said in a statement, introduced statutes of limitations for very serious crimes in a rush job process so that “more than a thousand articles were voted in a meeting without substantial consultation with the law schools and the associations of criminologists.”
He was especially critical of measures that he said were lenient even for child rape and sexual abuse with SYRIZA and its leader Alexis Tsipras now complaining about sex scandals in sports, media and the art sector.
SYRIZA, as it does when former members quit and are critical of the party, turned on him and said his claims were “nonsense,” and added that, “We wish him good luck in his new duties as a porter of political and business interests,” which he had said was what the party was also doing too.