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Greece: Former Director of the National Theater arrested on charges of rape

The wave of revelations about sexual harassment, abuse and rape in Greece, which began with the discovery of sailing athlete Sofia Bekatorou, has brought to light dozens of cases, with negative protagonists well-known and well-established individuals in their respective fields.

Olympic athlete Sofia Bekatorou’s revelations about sexual abuse 23 years ago by a member of the Greek Sailing Federation opened Egol’s bag and empowered victims of sexual abuse to report incidents.

And while as of Saturday no one accused of sexual abuse had crossed the threshold of the Police Directorate, due to statute of limitations or lack of sufficient evidence, a rape lawsuit filed against actor and director Dimitris Lignadis led to the publication his arrest.

The former artistic director of the National Theater, Dimitris Lignadis, who declares his innocence, is being accused of serial rape, while the arrest warrant, according to press information, refers to the manner in which his victims were approached.

However, the Lignadis case, in addition to its legal and social dimension, has also entered the realm of political confrontation with opposition parties, accusing Culture Minister Lina Mendoni and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis of concealment and negligence in the Lignadis case.

Against the background of the appointment of Dimitris Lignadis to the position of Director of the National Theater, it happened after the repeal of the SYRIZA law to fill managerial positions in public organizations such as the National Theater, for reasons of public interest as reported in Parliament on 7 August 2019, the Minister of Culture of the New Democracy government Lina Think. On August 13, the Minister of Culture appoints Dimitris Lignadis to the position of Artistic Director of the National Theater.

The opposition as a whole and the actors’ unions demand the resignation of the Minister of Culture. In addition, they include the Greek Prime Minister in the appointment of Lignadis.

On Wednesday, Dimitris Lignadis is expected to testify about the charge that has been filed against him.

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