With two convicted terrorists let out of jail on the loose and police fearing they will return to violence, Greece is planning tougher conditions before criminals convicted of serious offenses can be given breaks from their sentences.
A draft bill that was presented for public discussion on March 14 and due to be sent to Parliament also provides more lenient sentences for those convicted of corruption if they return the money to the state, including buying their way out of jail.
The bill prepared by the Justice Ministry would require terrorism convicts serving life sentences to stay in jail for at least 20 years before being given furloughs, with the first 10 in a high-security prison and without the right to conditional releases.
Domoko jail in central Greece is to become the first prison to operate according to the new regulations, detaining dangerous detainees and convicts without the right to parole.
The plan is for all those convicted or facing trial for terrorism, treason and other serious crimes to be transferred to Domoko prison.
The changes come in the aftermath of November 17 terrorist Christodoulos Xiros walking away from a Christmas vacation he was granted despite serving six life sentences for his role in the assassination of five people, five of them Americans attached to the US. Embassy in Athens.
That was in January this year, 18 months after Nikos Maziotis, leader of the terrorist group Revolutionary Struggle (ELA), vanished after being released from a maximum 18-month detention because he hadn’t been brought to trial leader.
Earlier this month, Maziotis, who has been at large since July 2012, has said there are no links between his guerrilla organization and Xiros or a new leftist group. Xiros, in a video released on the Internet, swore a return to terrorism, setting off a high alert among law enforcement officials and potential targets.
In a letter posted on the anarchist website Indymedia, Maziotis said ELA has “serious criteria for political alliances,” including behavior on arrest, a swipe at Xiros, who gave details about N17’s activities after his arrest.
Maziotis also denied links to a group called Group of Popular Rebels, which claimed an armed attack on the Athens home of the German ambassador in late December.
The letter was co-signed by Maziotis’s girlfriend, Panayiota Roupa, who has also been at large since the summer of 2012 when the couple failed to honor the terms of their conditional release after serving the maximum of 18 months in pre-trial custody.
Police have offered 2 million euros for information leading to the pair.