NEWS

Hooligans heading straight to jail 

New bill tackling sports-related violence foresees strict penalties and no suspended prison terms

Hooligans heading straight to jail 

Perpetrators of sports-related violence will be taken straight to jail and their terms will not be suspended, even if they have been sentenced to just a few months, according to the new legal framework that the government is introducing and whose provisions Kathimerini has seen.

Up until now perpetrators of fan violence rarely went to prison. But this changes with the provision that any conviction related to sports violence will lead to time served in prison.

The new bill drafted by the ministries of Sports and Justice will soon be forwarded to Parliament.

The bill is part of a government crackdown on sport-related hooliganism in the wake of the brutal murder on February 1 of 19-year-old Alkis Kambanos, who was attacked in a street in the northern city of Thessaloniki by a group of hooligans supporting a rival club and stabbed to death.

In addition to scrapping suspended prison sentences, the new legislation brings tougher penalties for a number of offenses related to sports violence.

Indicatively, prison sentences are increased from two to five years for crimes such as possession of dangerous objects, violence, threats, manifestations of racism and more.

The offense of inciting violence, in addition to the sentence of five years in prison, also carries a mandatory fine.

What’s more, the new bill stipulates that trials linked to sport violence will be given absolute priority and in the event of a postponement of a trial, for whatever reason, restrictive measures will be imposed on the defendants until they are tried.

These measures include the obligation to report to a police station, a ban on approaching a specific area, and their presence at a police station during matches.

The expediting of trials in cases of fan violence had been ordered by the Prosecutor’s Office of the Supreme Court after the tragic incident in Thessaloniki.

To this end, the judicial official who deals with sports violence, Deputy Prosecutor of the Supreme Court Zacharias Kokkinakis, issued a circular last week to prosecutors around Greece calling for the trial of all cases within 30 days at the latest.