Changes will be made to penal code draft, says minister

Changes will be made to penal code draft, says minister

In response to criticism from opposition parties, legal experts and even SYRIZA’s youth party of provisions included in the government’s proposals for changes to Greece’s penal and criminal procedure codes, Justice Minister Michalis Kalogirou insisted on Wednesday that they are still in draft form and have not been finalized.

“The draft codes are not final texts,” Kalogirou announced on Wednesday, adding that changes will be made to the proposals.

New Democracy denounced provisions included in the proposals, saying they aim to ensure more lenient sentences for the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party – currently on trial for running a criminal organization – and those responsible for the natural disasters in Attica last year, and to embolden self-styled anarchists roaming the streets of Athens.

“[The changes] scandalously favor Golden Dawn during its ongoing trial,” said New Democracy deputy spokesperson Yiannis Mastrogeorgiou.

More specifically, ND focused on a provision that will reduce sentences for those convicted of running a criminal organization to 5-10 years from the current 10-20 years.

Moreover, having long accused the leftist government of showing “unprecedented” tolerance to violence, ND charged that it is now trying to introduce legislation driven by its ideological bent for lawlessness.

This view was seen to be reinforced by a provision that reduces the manufacture and possession of homemade firebombs from a felony to a misdemeanor. Mastrogeorgiou said the provisions encourage anarchists to throw Molotov cocktails at will.

In response to the criticism, SYRIZA MP Giorgos Kyritsis stoked the fire further, saying “in the 30 or more years that I worked as a journalist I do not recollect anyone being killed by a Molotov cocktail.”

ND denounced the remarks as offensive to the victims of a deadly firebomb attack on a branch of Marfin Bank in central Athens during anti-austerity riots in May 2010.

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