Robbers using heavy weapons to face life in jail

Armed robbers using assault rifles or other heavy weaponry could face life in prison if convicted, according to a legislative reform of the penal code that the Justice Ministry is planning to submit to Parliament in the coming days.

The reform is a response by the government to a spate of violent robberies by assailants wielding Kalashnikovs and other automatic weapons, generally acquired on the black market at low prices. The current law foresees a 10-year jail sentence for convicts in such cases.

Violent robberies have spiked over the past two years, particularly in Athens and other big Greek cities, as the economic crisis has boosted poverty and eroded tolerance.