Order to free ex-minister tied to high bail


A judicial council on Wednesday ordered the release from prison of former defense minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos because of his frail health in response to the latest in a series of appeals lodged by the veteran Socialist politician.

However, the conditions attached to the decision include the posting of 200,000 euros in bail, which, Tsochatzopoulos’s lawyers said, the former minister cannot afford. Other conditions include a ban on leaving the country.

The 77-year-old, who was given a 20-year prison term for money laundering in 2013, has been in the capital’s Ippokrateio Hospital since undergoing triple bypass surgery last month.

A prosecutor had earlier argued for Tsochatzopoulos’s release, saying that the former minister’s continued residence at Attica’s high-security Korydallos Prison “would cause irreparable damage” to his health.

The five-member judicial council accepted the prosecutor’s request by a slim majority of three to two.

Tsochatzopoulos’s wife, Viki Stamati, who was sentenced to 12 years in prison for money laundering, was released in October 2015 after repeatedly citing mental health problems.