Protecting justice from populism

The judicial system must be extremely diligent with regard to its handling of the recent corruption scandals and mismanagement of public property as well as misappropriation of funds. At the same time, however, justice must be meted out with moderation and a strong sense of fairness. The decision to release Yiannis Angelou, an aid to former conservative Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis who has been implicated in the Vatopedi land swap, on very steep bail and to impose such strict conditions on a Greek citizen – who clearly cannot flee the country in order to escape trial – may satisfy the public’s populist sentiments but is far too harsh. Greece’s courts are here to rule on the scandals currently under investigation. After all, the judges always have the last word. Until the ruling is out, however, we must not move the bar on what constitutes punishable behavior. Nor should we allow innocent individuals to pay the price for the general public’s understandable rage at lingering corruption and impunity.

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