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State Debtors Relieved of Prosecution

Justice minister Haralambos Athanasiou presaged the tendering of an amendment that will repeal penal trials against those unable to meet their debts to the state.

The issue was highlighted by former minister and New Democracy MP Prokopis Pavlopoulos, who requested the existing regulation be repealed, calling it medieval.

“Such regulations that equate the poor with criminals are unacceptable,” said Mr Pavlopoulos, who added that the regulation was brought by the Papandreou government and then minister Giorgos Papakostantinou because of the obligations spelled out by the memorandum with lenders making it a crime not to pay the state, even when there was obvious inability.

“Can anyone show me a country, where this happens?” queried Mr Pavlopoulos, noting that even in victor Hugo's “Les Miserables” there are no such unacceptable regulations. He went a step further challenging the finance ministry to bring a bill immediately to change the regulation as no one would vote against it.

Mr Athanasiou informed the House that the new regulation was ready and would be tabled soon, but needed the input of the finance ministry.