Outrage in Greece: murder sentence reduced
Epaminondas Korkoneas, sentenced to life imprisonment for the 2008 murder of 15-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos, has been released from prison. In a new ruling Korkoneas's lack of a previous criminal record has been recognised as a mitigating circumstance. Does the court's decision legitimise violence?
Don't the judges see the danger?
The reduced sentence for Korkoneas sends precisely the wrong signal, writes To Vima Online:
“It seems some people fail to understand the historical significance of certain events. Alexandros Grigoropoulos's murder wasn't an 'unfortunate moment' in the life of a policeman. ... It was a symptom of a deep, authoritarian and very dangerous mentality that still exists in the Greek police force, and which is often directed against youths. ... Today some people forget the huge protests that took place in every Greek city back in those days. They forget the waves of anger in Athens. They forget that back then a real social explosion took place. That's why it was necessary to set an example with Korkoneas's punishment. ... Sometimes it must be made clear that certain acts will receive extremely harsh punishment because they follow an extremely dangerous logic.”
Justified doubts about equality before the law
In this case the mitigating circumstances should not have carried any weight, argues Thanasis Kampagiannis, a lawyer whose Facebook post website TVXS quotes:
“The court was dealing with a policeman. His criminal record has to be clean [to be allowed to enter the profession]. ... The court is sending the message that it tolerates the violent behaviour of a police officer who deliberately planned the murder of a 15-year-old schoolboy. ... Any citizen, even those with no clue about how the law works, is entitled to ask: Would the same court show the same lenience if a civilian murdered a police officer? And what would the family and colleagues of the deceased police officer really think in such a situation?”