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Another episode of the series "The rapist with the cheese pie"

09 February 2013 / 14:02:51  GRReporter
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About 25 people, members of organisations for putting an end to violence against women, staged a protest in front of the Supreme Court on 8 February on the occasion of the Court of Appeal's decision on the case of the four women who were raped in the summer of 2005. They demanded that the decision be withdrawn. This series of continuous delays has been holding these four women like prisoners for seven years now and although in the case of the woman from northern Europe, the offender was sentenced to five years imprisonment without mitigating circumstances, for the other three women the court battle has not even started yet.

Strong criticism followed Ta Nea newspaper's publications of 2 February, regarding the actions of the attacker's lawyer and member of SYRIZA Zoe Konstantopoulou. The newspaper noted that, since 2006, the rape trials of Australian Dana Marie Saint, Canadian Natalie Cardiff and the other two women have been postponed twice due to the absence of the victims and the witnesses; three times due to the absence and strikes of court officers; and six times due to the absence of the attacker's lawyer. Furthermore, the consideration of the appeal of the woman from Northern Europe, which lasted 10 months, has been interrupted more than 6 times because Konstantopoulou had to attend to other cases, twice because of a request for a continuance and once due to illness.

The feminist initiative

Sisi Vouvou, a member of the Network for Women and of the Central Political Committee of SYRIZA, talks about the trap in which these girls are caught. "The request for an annulment of the decision was filed today, we hope that the court will make the right decision and protect the victim," she told To Vima newspaper. Vouvou wrote in Ta Nea that the flagrant denial of justice and protraction by the defence, as well as the delay of convictions, make people wonder if there is a Code of Ethics for lawyers and whether it is applied.

The case was brought to the attention of the Commissioner for Human Rights at the United Nations on 31 January 2013, following the report submitted by the Greek Helsinki Committee. It said that, after the lawyer of the accused used various means to secure three continuances, which delayed the case, it lasted 10 months. During these months, 30 hearings were conducted, 28 of which concerned continuances or legal requests, which were often submitted incorrectly by the lawyer of the accused. The report will be discussed along with other issues concerning Greece during the 54th Session of the United Nations High Commissioner on 18-19 February.

Today, the accused is free, despite the sentence of 5 years imprisonment and deprivation of civil rights for two years, since, six months after the issuance of the verdict, he was released on good behaviour - he was in prison for only two of the five years of the verdict.

The chronicle of the nightmare

Everything started in 2005, when four women - two from Australia, one from Canada and one from Northern Europe, who came to Greece on holiday, were raped by this man. The circumstances in all four cases are the same. He offered them a tour of Athens, a piece of cheese pie with sleeping pills in it, then he gave them alcohol, and finally took them to a hotel and raped them.

Then, the judicial odyssey that continues today began as well. Following the intervention of the embassy of one of the parties, the case started and achieved a maximum sentence for the rapist in March 2012 - five years imprisonment and two years deprivation of civil rights. The other three women did not receive the same support and therefore the case is not over yet, after continuous delays.

Political disagreements

This case resulted in political attacks as well, not only against the deputy of SYRIZA herself, but against the party, too. In a press release, PASOK's Women's Organisation claimed that the fact that the lawyer of the accused is Zoe Konstantopoulou is suspicious - she is a perfect, stubborn and strong lawyer and MP, who, in this case, via various legal tricks, provided her client with eight years of life in freedom.

"Why is there no desire to ascribe justice in this case, Mrs. Konstantopoulou?," continued the statement and ended with an expectation that Zoe Konstantopoulou will refute or confirm these facts.

SYRIZA against SYRIZA

The fact that the first reaction came from the ranks of the party should also be noted. The Feminist Women's Initiative for putting an end to violence, which organised the protest, involves members of the central committee of the SYRIZA party.

In a statement, the biggest opposition party, however, supported the MP and claimed that the publications attempted to distract the attention and conceal the truth about the "Lagarde list". The statement noted many different attacks against Konstantopoulou from political centres, publishing groups and television channels that want to hamper SYRIZA's attempts to uncover the truth about the list of Greeks' bank accounts in Swiss banks.

Tags: Zoe Konstandopoulou SYRIZA proceedings verdict rape
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