Ex-theater boss to present plea over rape allegations

Ex-theater boss to present plea over rape allegations

The former director of Greece’s National Theater will appear before an examining magistrate in Athens on Thursday to respond to two rape allegations, in a high profile case that has also fuelled a confrontational political debate between the government and the main opposition.

Dimitris Lignadis resigned as head of the National Theater earlier this month after an arrest warrant was issued following lawsuits filed against him by two men who say he raped them when they were minors.

On Wednesday, his lawyer, Alexis Kougias, described the allegations as a “crude fabrication” and filed for his arrest warrant to be revoked. He also claimed that he can prove his client was not present when the alleged incidents occurred, adding that the two alleged victims “are Egyptians.”

Opposition parties have accused Culture Minister Lina Mendoni of being too slow to take action against Lignadis and have called for her resignation. Mendoni hand-picked Lignadis in 2019, bypassing the official vetting process.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis will clash with main opposition leader Alexis Tsipras in Parliament over the handling of the case by the government and specifically Mendoni. The debate is scheduled to start at 10 a.m.

Lignadis’ case follows other sexual abuse allegations in Greek culture and sport in recent weeks which have been described as the country’s belated #MeToo movement.

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