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Greek Director Dimitris Lignadis to Remain Detained on Rape Charges

Lignadis sexual abuse charges
Dimitris Lignadis is brought to the court on Thursday. Credit: AMNA

The investigating magistrate and the prosecutor ruled early on Friday that former Greek National Theater director and actor Dimitris Lignadis should be further detained until trial.

Lignadis, who concluded his testimony before a prosecutor on Thursday, has been detained since Saturday evening over charges of sexual abuse and rape.

He is accused of two rapes. One of a 14-year-boy, in 2010, and another for which the victim has been deposed in front of prosecutors but the details of which have not been made known as of yet.

In a lengthy memo submitted to an investigative magistrate on Thursday, Lignadis denied the 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,” he stated.

He dismissed the charges against him as “lies” and 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.

The case, which has been brought forward by the Greek #MeToo movement, prompted by Olympian athlete Sofia Bekatorou, has shocked public opinion in Greece.

Government under fire over Lignadis

It has also led opposition parties to accuse the conservative government of Kyriakos Mitsotakis of a cover-up.

Lignadis was appointed to the post of National Theater artistic director by the Minister of Culture, Lina Mendoni.

Both Mitsotakis and Mendoni are accused of being aware of Lignadis’s illegal activities, yet they put him at the highest post of Greece’s National Theater.

In a tense parliamentary session on Thursday, Mitsotakis defended his minister by saying that the government acted as soon as the allegation became public and by firing Lignadis.

He also announced on Thursday that he will bring about new legislation to tighten sex abuse laws and help victims.

But the #MeToo movement “should not become a victim of vulgar political exploitation,” the Prime Minister cautioned, accusing main opposition SYRIZA and its leader Alexis Tsipras of “left-wing Trumpism.”

He said that the opposition has been behind a social media campaign to link the Conservatives with the alleged pedophilia scandal.

Leader of main opposition SYRIZA Alexis Tsipras hit back at the accusations of populism, saying the responsibility for the scandal belongs to the Prime Minister.

“We are not going to judge or much less condemn anyone, but let us all ask ourselves. Are there are no political responsibilities that are tantamount to a political scandal?” he asked.


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