Greece's outgoing justice minister on Monday afternoon categorically denied a bevy of same-day press reports claiming that the country's revised penal code will make it easier for inmates serving multiple life sentences to achieve an early release, with most of the speculation focusing on whether a handful of convicted urban terrorists will be freed this summer.
Minister Michalis Kalogirou referred to "cursory and fake" press reports, while saying the intent is to sully the incumbent party, hard left SYRIZA, ahead of Sunday's election. Among others, he said offenders with multiple life sentences had to previously serve at least 19 years in prison before being eligible for parole. Under the revised code, he said the minimum time served is 25 years.
The Tsipras government drafted and submitted for ratification by Parliament of a series of penal code revisions last month, days after PM Alexis Tsipras said he would relinquish his mandate and seek a snap election, the fallout from ruling SYRIZA party's double election defeat in the European Parliament and local government races.
In some cases, felony offenses were downgraded to misdemeanors, with more lenient sentencing guidelines also instituted, changes rounded criticized by the most of the political opposition as being "soft" on criminals and emanating from a "lame duck" government. Nevertheless, Tsipras did not immediately request that Parliament be dissolved, thereby passing numerous last-minute legislation, such as the code revisions and even appointing new top justices.
The press reports on Monday cited the prospect of the remaining "November 17" terrorists being released from prison.