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Greece’s former National Theatre Director out on parole after being found guilty of two rapes

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The former Director of Greece’s National Theatre, Dimitris Lignadis, has been released from jail pending appeal after a court found him guilty of the rape of two men when they were minors and sentenced him to 12 years in prison.

According to AP News, the decision to release the 57-year-old was greeted by shouts of disbelief by many people that had crowded inside the small Athens courtroom and spilled outside.

The presiding judge had to call on police to clear the room of protesters. The defendant was escorted out of the court via a back door.

As part of his parole, Lignadis is barred from leaving Greece, he has to report to the police precinct closest to his residence every first and 10th of each month, and post a 30,000-euro bond by July 29.

The former artistic director of Greece’s National Theater Dimitris Lignadis, center, accompanied by police arrives at the court in Athens, Greece, Wednesday, July 13, 2022. Photo: AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis.

When arguing for his client’s release pending appeal, Lignadis’ lawyer, Alexis Kougias, told the court that it could take three to four years for an appeals verdict to be reached and urged the three judges and four jurors not to “destroy” his client’s life.

The public prosecutor has asked that the sentence should not be suspended pending appeal as Lignadis hadn’t acknowledged his crimes and he could commit more as a result.

Earlier Wednesday, Lignadis had been found guilty in two out of four cases of rape.

Lignadis was acquitted for insufficient evidence in a third case, while the fourth accuser never appeared in court to testify, despite a court decision ordering him to. He had provided a false address.

Greece’s National Theatre Director is out on parole after being found guilty of two rapes. Photo: Keep Talking Greece.

The 12 year sentence arises from the merger of a sentence of 10 years and a sentence of five years decided for each offence separately. The rapes happened when the victims were minors, in 2010 and 2015.

The appeal will be heard by a five-judge court.

Lignadis had been ordered jailed when the rape allegations first surfaced in February 2021. A few days earlier, he had resigned from his post of artistic director of Greece’s National Theater, which he had held since 2019.

READ MORE: ‘Time for acts to break inaction’: Greek PM introduces harsher punishments for sexual abuse.

Source: AP News.

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