Greece: trial fuels doubts about legal system
The prominent Greek actor and director Dimitris Lignadis, who had been sentenced to up to twelve years in jail for the rape of two underage men, has been released pending appeal. The cultural sector has reacted with protest actions and the nation is embroiled in a heated debate. Is the former head of the Greek National Theatre profiting from his frequently cited ties to the conservative government?
Radical reform is necessary
Columnist Kostas Vaxevanis contends in Documento:
“For the prosecutor and the investigator who had imprisoned Lignadis as a defendant, it was clear that he is dangerous, but for the court, notwithstanding the sentence, he is harmless. Who can interpret this judicial schizophrenia, and how? ... Our legal system cannot function like this any longer. It needs radical democratic reform through constructive dialogue with the public and active members of society. ... This would not be meddling in the affairs of the law, but a political duty. A rapist must be to the law what he is to society. He cannot be declared a friend of [Prime Mininster] Mitsotakis in order to get a different sentence.”
Let's not go down the route of people's courts
The News247 website publishes a press release from the union of magistrates and prosecutors defending the ruling:
“In recent times there has been an increase in the number of appeals made to the public sense of justice. The invocation and exploitation of the general sense of justice calls for particular caution because it can very easily provoke a relapse to the people's courts and witch hunts of the past. ... The only stable guarantor of protection against this is the constitutional state and its institutions, including an independent judiciary, which reaches its decisions on the basis of the evidence in the files and the legal evidence, as recognised by the constitution and the laws and as demanded by the basic principles of a fair trial and the protection of the rights of the individual.”