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

ATHENS — The Greek police on Saturday night arrested the previous creative 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 prices, his lawyer, Nikos Georgouleas, mentioned in a textual content message. Talking later outdoors police headquarters, the place his shopper was being held, Mr. Georgouleas mentioned his shopper denied the fees.

“Every little thing that’s being heard, he denies,” the lawyer mentioned.

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 put up on the Nationwide Theater earlier this month after studies emerged suggesting that he had sexually harassed younger actors, which he furiously denied. After his resignation, extra studies emerged, alleging extra severe abuse.

Credit score…Efi Skaza/Eurokinissi, by way of Agence France-Presse — Getty Photos

The upheaval in Greece’s arts world has come after an Olympic sailor, Sofia Bekatorou, accused a high crusing official final month of sexually abusing her in 1998. Her prices represented the primary high-profile accusation of sexual assault and abuse of energy in Greece because the #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, mentioned she had requested the nation’s Supreme Court docket to research 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 mentioned that sexual abuse, notably towards minors, should not go unpunished.

The unfolding scandal has fueled a vehement political combat 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 mentioned that neither she nor the nation’s prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, had recognized Mr Lignadis “personally,” and knew him solely as an actor.

“Mr Lignadis is a harmful man, however that has emerged now,” the minister mentioned. She mentioned 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 mentioned, 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 mentioned on the assembly. “Within the public dialogue that has luckily begun we should obtain the best potential political and social consensus if we’re to deal with the issue,” he mentioned.

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 mentioned the union has been deluged with complaints by actors reporting alleged abuse.

In an announcement issued after Mr Lignadis’ arrest on Saturday, Greece’s Justice Ministry mentioned that judicial authorities “will do no matter is important so as to guarantee every thing involves gentle on this very shady case and for justice to be completed.”

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