ATHENS – A prominent Greek actor and director was found guilty of raping two minor men and sentenced to 12 years in prison. He was released pending an appeal.

The decision to free 57-year-old Dimitris Lignadis was met with shouts of disbelief from many people who packed a small courtroom in Athens and spilled out onto the street.

The presiding judge had to call the police to clear the premises of the protesters. The defendant was taken out of the court through a back door.

The court banned Lignadis from leaving the country. He must also appear at the precinct closest to his place of residence on the first and 10th of each month and pay a deposit of 30,000 euros by July 29.

The appeals process can be lengthy and the Greek justice system is notorious for delays. Arguing for his client’s release pending an appeal, Lignadis’ lawyer Alexis Kougias told the court it could take three to four years to reach a verdict on the appeal and urged the three judges and four jurors not to “ruin” his client’s life. .


The prosecutor opposed the release, saying that Lignadis had not admitted to his crimes and that he could commit more as a result.

Earlier on Wednesday, Lignadis was found guilty of two of the four counts of rape.

Lignadis was acquitted due to insufficient evidence in the third case, while the fourth accuser never appeared in court to testify despite a court order ordering him to do so. He provided a false address.

The two rapes for which Lignadis was convicted took place in 2010 and 2015.

The court rejected Lignadis’ lawyer’s request for mitigating circumstances.

The prosecutor demanded 12 years in prison for each of the two rapes. The judge and jury decided to sentence him to 10 years in one case and five in the other, to be served concurrently, for a total of 12 years in prison.

In Greek criminal courts, judges and jurors vote together on questions of guilt, sentence, any mitigating circumstances, and acquittal on appeal, and their votes carry equal weight. The release, pending qppeal, was upheld on a 4-3 vote.


The appeal will be heard by a court of five judges.

Lignadis was jailed when the allegations surfaced in February 2021. A few days earlier, he resigned from the position of artistic director of the National Theater of Greece, which he held since 2019.

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