Ex-Creative Director of Greece’s Nationwide Theater Held After Rape Arrest Warrant

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ATHENS — The Greek police on Saturday night arrested the previous inventive director of the nation’s prestigious Nationwide Theater, who has been the goal of accusations of sexual abuse and harassment which have buffeted the Greek arts world over the previous weeks.

Dimitris Lignadis turned himself in on the Athens police headquarters shortly after being knowledgeable {that a} warrant had been issued for his arrest on rape fees, his lawyer, Nikos Georgouleas, stated in a textual content message. Talking later exterior police headquarters, the place his shopper was being held, Mr. Georgouleas stated his shopper denied the fees.

“Every part that’s being heard, he denies,” the lawyer stated.

Mr. Lignadis is essentially the most high-profile among the many quite a few administrators and actors to have been named in a torrent of accusations which have rocked the Greek arts world. And the fees towards him are among the many most severe. He resigned from his submit on the Nationwide Theater earlier this month after experiences emerged suggesting that he had sexually harassed younger actors, which he furiously denied. After his resignation, extra experiences emerged, alleging extra severe abuse.

Credit score…Efi Skaza/Eurokinissi, through Agence France-Presse — Getty Photos

The upheaval in Greece’s arts world has come after an Olympic sailor, Sofia Bekatorou, accused a prime crusing official final month of sexually abusing her in 1998. Her fees represented the primary high-profile accusation of sexual assault and abuse of energy in Greece for the reason that #MeToo motion swept the world, bringing down highly effective figures in sports activities, the media and past.

On Friday, Greece’s tradition minister, Lina Mendoni, stated she had requested the nation’s Supreme Courtroom to analyze a barrage of accusations of sexual assault, primarily these involving the abuse of minors.

In her remarks, Ms. Mendoni underlined the necessity for “catharsis” in Greece’s cultural sector and stated that sexual abuse, notably towards minors, should not go unpunished.

The unfolding scandal has fueled a vehement political struggle in Greece. Ms. Mendoni’s detractors blame her for appointing Mr. Lignadis to the Nationwide Theater in 2019. Defending her ministry’s actions, Ms Mendoni stated that neither she nor the nation’s prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, had identified Mr Lignadis “personally,” and knew him solely as an actor.

“Mr Lignadis is a harmful man, however that has emerged now,” the minister stated. She stated she felt “deceived” by him.

“With deep performing expertise he tried to persuade us that he had nothing to do with all this,” Ms Mendoni stated, referring to the accusations of abuse.

Mr. Mitsotakis, the prime minister, additionally referred to the mounting variety of accusations of sexual abuse and harassment within the Greek performing arts throughout a televised assembly with President Katerina Sakellaropoulou on Friday.

“The sexual abuse of minors is essentially the most abhorrent model of this phenomenon,” Mr. Mitsotakis stated on the assembly. “Within the public dialogue that has happily begun we should obtain the best doable political and social consensus if we’re to sort out the issue,” he stated.

Greek prosecutors are anticipated to begin summoning witnesses subsequent week for his or her broader inquiry into allegations of abuse and harassment within the Greek arts world, beginning with the pinnacle of the nation’s actors’ union, Spyros Bibilas, who stated the union has been deluged with complaints by actors reporting alleged abuse.

In a press release issued after Mr Lignadis’ arrest on Saturday, Greece’s Justice Ministry stated that judicial authorities “will do no matter is critical as a way to guarantee every little thing involves gentle on this very shady case and for justice to be achieved.”

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