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Greece to reduce sentences for financial crimes against the state

Justice Minister Mihalis Kalogirou submitted the draft of a new penal code that reduces sentences for the crimes against the state and re-classifies minor crimes into either violations that are punished with a money penalty or misdemeanors carrying a maximum of five years imprisonment.

The Minister also presented a new trial code that changes some of the jurisdictions judges have and the processes related to trials.

The new draft code also establishes a maximum of 15 years in prison for felonies, abolishes the ban on civil rights like voting at national elections, and allows a perpetrator of financial crimes to avoid jail if he or she pays to restore the damage incurred.

In addition, the draft code also abolishes life sentences, the maximum sentence imposed on embezzlers of public money, who will instead be served a maximum of 15 years in jail.

These cases also include people who falsify documents and practice breach of trust, damaging the state.

The liability for crimes to the state will extend to a maximum of 20 years, after which they will be written off.

Justice Minister Kalogirou presented the two draft codes to public consultation for 21 days and called on all academics, bar associations, judges, political parties and related agencies to submit their proposals and comments within that time frame, state news agency amna reports.

He said that the codes will be voted by parliament with the process used for codes – not per article, but as a single article each and in one parliamentary session. They will not go into immediate effect, but provision will be made for their adoption.

PS At first sight, the proposals are good, bad and at times unnecessary. A cleaner was recently thrown to jail for 10 years, after she was found guilty of falsifying the date on her elementary school diploma to get a job at a state hospital. Was the law too severe? Yes.

Majority of state embezzlers and kickbacks receivers are out of prison even though they got high imprisonment sentences. Is the law too severe? No.

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