Greek Justice Minister Michalis Kalogirou on Monday rejected reports that the new penal code will allow convicted terrorists to be released earlier under conditions, saying they are “false” and blaming it on an attempt to drag the issue into the pre-election campaign.
Due to the new penal code which came into effect on Monday, four jailed members of the now-defunct Greek terrorist group November 17, including leader Alexandros Giotopoulos, will be able to apply for conditional release, and the group’s hitman Dimitris Koufodinas will be able to do the same in September.
According to the provisions of law 110A, the right to early release under specific conditions has been extended to lifers irrespective of their crime and the number of life sentences they have been handed, provided they have served 17 years in prison.
Kalogirou cited Article 7 of presidential decree 62/2014, which states that prisoners who have been handed life sentences cannot benefit from the pilot implementation of electronic tagging.
“Therefore, today, the measure in question cannot be implemented in the cases mentioned in these press reports,” he said in a statement.
The minister also argued that the new code actually toughens conditions for terrorists’ final release but did not comment at all on the provisions relating to early conditional release.
He said that any request for release will first have to be examined by a judicial council.