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Society

SYRIZA Leniency Law Released Serial Rapist Charged in Another Rape

ATHENS – A 47-year-old man living on the island of Corfu who was arrested on rape charges he tried to elude by jumping off a cliff, severely injuring himself, was let out of jail early in 2019 under a law passed by the former ruling Radical Left SYRIZA despite being a serial rapist.

Dimitris Aspiotis was 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 government of former premier Alexis Tsipras rammed the law through Parliament in the last days of his administration before he was ousted in July 7, 2019 snap elections by the New Democracy Conservatives and now Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

Local media call the rapist the “Ogre of Kerkyra (Corfu)” and “The Beast of Kavos,” and said, police acted on a complaint filed by a 34-year-old Albanian woman, who said he lured her to a remote spot in the island's sparsely populated south end, near Lefkimi, threatened her with a knife and then repeatedly raped her.

Police then hunted him down with more than 100 officers and dogs on the trail but as he was being cornered a police spokesman said Aspiotis made a run for it and jumped off a 260-foot cliff.

The police found two phones, a loaded hunting rifle, knives, switchblades, screwdrivers and other weapons in his possession.

He will be charged in the attack on the Albanian woman after he has had surgery for his injuries, The Guardian reported. He broke several ribs and suffered fractures in his pelvis and hip, as well as other injuries, the police spokesman said, and was hospitalized in Corfu under guard.

The New York Times said the case highlighted Greece’s troubled judicial system and lax laws against rape. The number of reported rapes in Greece was 167 in 2019, according to the police, but activists believe it’s closer to 4,500 per year, according to local news reports.

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 rape.

One of his victims appeared on British television to recount her ordeal, while the story was also picked up by British tabloids who reveal in sensation.

One of the British women Aspiotis was convicted of raping in 2010 broke her anonymity last year when she learned that he had been released from prison.

“I don’t believe he’s changed,” the woman, Kayleigh Morgan, told the British news media. She had given evidence at his trial, after which, she said, the judge apologized on behalf of the Greek people and told her “to go and enjoy” the rest of her life.

“A person like that can never change, and now I’m terrified he’ll do what he did to me again to more victims,” she said in 2019. And now police said he did.

After news of his flight and capture broke, Morgan told the British tabloid The Sun: “I warned he would strike again and was proved right. I hope he stays in pain for the rest of his life.”

In an interview with the Greek news media last year, in which he admitted raping two of the women in 2010 but not the third, he said he regretted his actions, adding, “No one should be scared of me.”

The number of reported rapes in Greece was 167 in 2019, according to the police, but there have been concerns for years that rapes are under-reported and that the actual number is closer to 4,500 per year, according to local news reports.

The law under which he was released was ended a month after New Democracy took office but by then had seen many criminals out early.

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