The prosecutor had called for a 12-year sentence for each of the two rapes. The judges and jury decided to sentence him to 10 years in one case and five in the other, with part of the sentences served concurrently, for a total prison term of 12 years.

A prominent Greek stage actor and director was convicted of the rape of two men when they were minors and a court sentenced him to 12 years in prison. He has been released pending appeal, reports AP.

The decision to release Dimitris Lignadis, 57, was greeted by shouts of disbelief by many people that had crowded inside the small Athens courtroom and spilled outside.

The presiding judge had to call on police to clear the room of protesters. The defendant was escorted out of the court via a back door.

The court has barred Lignadis from leaving the country. He also has to report to the police precinct closest to his residence every first and 10th of each month and a post 30,000-euro bond by July 29.

The appeals process could be a lengthy one and Greece’s justice system is notorious for its delays. When arguing for his client’s release pending appeal, Lignadis’ lawyer, Alexis Kougias, told the court that it could take three to four years for an appeals verdict to be reached and urged the three judges and four jurors not to “destroy” his client’s life.

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