ATHENS, Greece (AP) — A court in Athens has ordered the former director of Greece’s National Theater remanded in custody after he appeared before a public prosecutor for several hours to respond to child abuse allegations.
Prominent Greek actor and director Dimitris Lignadis, 56, who denies the charges, was ordered held in jail in the early hours of Friday, defense lawyer Alexis Kougias said in a statement.
Under Greek law, suspects are not identified unless exceptions are made to serve the public interest or they identify themselves. Kougias has identified Lignadis as his client in the case, and said he will appeal the temporary custody decision.
According to reports, Lignadis is accused of rape by two men who were minors when the alleged events occurred in 2010 and 2015. He has denied any wrongdoing.
He resigned in early February as the artistic director of Greece’s National Theater amid reports of the accusations.
The case against Lignadis has triggered a major political dispute, with opposition parties calling for the ouster of Greece’s culture minister, arguing she responded too slowly to the allegations. The actor-director was appointed in 2019 by the current government.
On Thursday, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis promised changes to laws and labor regulations to combat sexual abuse and misconduct amid a nationwide debate on the issue.
Speaking in parliament, Mitsotakis said his center-right government would introduce tougher sentencing guidelines, propose changes to statute of limitation rules for cases involving minors and create an agency to deal with claims of abuse in workplaces and organized youth activities.