Following a barrage of criticism from NGOs and lawmakers over how rape should be defined and punished in the new penal code, Justice Minister Mihalis Kalogirou submitted an amendment which appeared to clarify that consent is needed for a sexual act.
The controversial paragraph 5 of Article 336 was amended to state that “whoever attempts a sexual act without the consent of the victim is punished by imprisonment of up to 10 years.”
The change also means that rape remains a felony. The previous phrasing defined the crime in terms of the physical threat it may present to a victim’s life and not on the basis of the absence of consent as stipulated in the Istanbul Convention which Greece ratified in 2018.
It also allowed for “lesser forms of coercion” in rape which could clarify a rape as misdemeanour, carrying a sentence of as little as three years.
Amnesty International had denounced the original definition of rape as “unacceptable.”
The article has also been denounced by the union of judges and prosecutors, leftist SYRIZA MPs Maria Theleriti and Anneta Kavadia, and SYRIZA’s youth wing.