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Woman's Sentence for Fudging School Record: 'Inhumane'

Now Greece and the world are paying attention
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 25, 2018 3:15 PM CST
A building of a prison is seen in western Athens, Greece, in this file photo.   (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

(Newser) – A woman in Greece has roused her nation—and now the world—after getting a 10-year sentence for altering her elementary-school record, the New York Times reports. "This decision is not simply inhumane," says the Hellenic League for Human Rights. "It is another very indicative sign of permanent ailments in the criminal justice system." Labor unions, rights groups, and political parties have raised such a ruckus over her punishment that politicians are speaking up and the nation's Supreme Court plans to take a look. But things seemed grim when the cleaner, who worked for 18 years at a state kindergarten in central Greece, was found in 2014 to have altered her school record. She claimed to have finished six years in elementary school instead of five; six is needed to finish that level of schooling.

She initially got 15 years for defrauding the public, but that was eased this month by five years. "I am ashamed, but I did it for my children," she says, per Euronews. "I didn't want them to be raised in an orphanage like me." The woman, who apparently took the job to support her two children and sick husband, says she has nine siblings and was raised in an orphanage. Now her lawyer has appealed to Greece's high court, where a prosecutor plans to probe "dozens" of such cases involving fake documents and prison sentences. With a petition in her name drawing nearly 40,000 signatures as of this writing, even Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' Syriza party is speaking up. Her jail sentence "offends the sense of common justice and shakes citizens’ trust in the judiciary," the party says. (In another fraud case, parents are accused of stealing children's identities.)

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