PENAL CODE

Firebomb throwing becomes a felony

firebomb-throwing-becomes-a-felony

The government reintroduces harsher sentences for the throwing of firebombs, especially at protest rallies, making them a felony.

The relevant provision was introduced as an amendment to the draft law on the revised penal code.

The amendment, jointly submitted by the Justice and Citizen Protection Ministries comes only a few days ahead of the commemoration of a 1973 student uprising against the then military regime, on November 17, and the 13th anniversary of the shooting death of 15-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos by a police officer, on Dec. 6. On both occasions, police fear violent incidents, not unusual on those occasions.

Article 2 of the relevant amendment, entitled “Manufacture and possession of explosives and incendiary substances”, stipulates that “anyone who manufactures, supplies or possesses explosives or incendiary substances, bombs or devices which may cause danger to humans shall be punished by imprisonment of at least three years.”

Also, according to the second paragraph of Article 2, throwing firebombs during a public gathering is an aggravating circumstance, punishable by a sentence of up to 10 years. 

“The act of the previous paragraph is punishable by up to ten years imprisonment if the perpetrator commits it while participating in a public gathering of a crowd or concerns the possession of a large quantity of the above materials or objects,” the relevant passage says.

The bill also aggravates sentences for a series of crimes

  • Homicide and armed robbery resulting in death are punished by life sentences
  • Rape against a minor is punished by a life sentence.
  • There are harsher sentences for rape, procurement and pandering; also, the statute of limitations for such crimes will kick in later; trials for such crimes are expedited; testifying victims are protected from “secondary victimization”
  • Cases of workplace rape or harassment can be prosecuted if there is a complaint five years after the act, up from 3 months.
  • Eligibility for parole is set at after three-fifths of the sentence have been served, up from two-fifths; for life sentences, it is set at after 18 years’ imprisonment, up from 16.
  • For some crimes, there will no longer be the option of house arrest with an electronic tag.
  • The maximum punishment for robbery is raised to 5 years from 3.
  • Sentences lenghthened for some types of fraud.
  • In cases of aggravated usury, the maximum sentence is raised from 5 to 8 years.
  • Arson involving forest land becomes a felony, aggravated if arson resulted in “serious environmental degradation”
  • Introduces the crime of fake news compromising public health at a time of pandemic or health crisis. However, the Parliament’s legal counselors have expressed reservations about the broad definition of the crime.