Former artistic director of Greece’s National Theater Dimitris Lignadis has been remanded in custody in the early hours of Friday. In the scandal case that rocks the Greek society and the political world, the man faces charges of repeated sexual abuse of underage boys.
In a marathon session of Thursday, Lignadis could not convince the investigating magistrate and the prosecutor of his innocence. His testimony reportedly last four hours.he denied all charges.
“I have never expressed an erotic-sexual interest in underage individuals, nor have I ever had any erotic-sexual contact with any underage individual, with or without their consent,” the former director a lengthy memo submitted to an investigative magistrate Thursday.
He had called five witnesses to his defense. Two of them, a former PASOK Culture Minister and actress and her ex husband, were as witnesses to confirm the defendant’s claim that during August 2015, when he is alleged to have committed rape, he was with them on Ithaca island.
Two other witnesses he called to his defense the defense had called in, denied testimony saying they had nothing to say to the substance of the case.
Short after 2 o’ clock early Friday morning, magistrate and prosecutor ruled that the former director should be further detained until trial, reportedly as suspect of commiting new crimes.
Lignadis is to be transferred to the prison in Tripolis, central Peloponnese, most likely on Friday or Saturday. Before placed in a ward, he will be in 15-day quarantine isolation due to the pandemic. According to the law, the trial will have to take place within 18 months, or else he will be released until then.
His Lawyer announces lawsuits against practically everyone who express a point of view
His lawyer Alexis Kougias told reporters that he will appeal the pre-trial custody saying that authorities had “no evidence” and that his client would be free if he wasn’t prominent. He announced lawsuits against those who questioned the presumption of innocence of his client.
In a statement the well-known lawyer said he will challenge the decision of the investigator and prosecutor, describing it as “substantially and legally wrong.”
Kougias has described the evidence against Lignadis a “crude fabrication.”
He said further that his client has “given me the order to turn against all those who denounced his presumption of innocence (lawyers, actors, fashion-designers, TV-presenters) but also especially against one lawyer who with a post on his Facebook account invited on Thursday, “anyone who wants to complain about Mr. Lignadis, to address him, even stating that he bears all the costs of all proceedings, completely demeaning the function of a lawyer.”
Aggressive defense line
In the 27-page memo submitted to authorities, Lignadis reportedly dismissed the charges against him as “lies”. He claimed that the allegations have been “fabricated” by the board of the Greek Actors’ Guild in retaliation for criticism from Lignadis over how it runs the association and handles its finances.
“These people have envied me since the start of my career,” he said.
At the same time, his defense targeted the victims in an effort to disgrace them as “professional homosexuals” as lawyer Kougias told reporters.
The arrest of 56-year-old Dimitris Lignadis arrest last Saturday followed lawsuits by two young men who were 14 and 15 years old when they were sexually abused in 2010 and 2015.