The revelation of the government’s planned changes to the criminal code has stirred an uproar as it allows for shorter sentences for those involved in a criminal organisation – which is the charge that the extreme right Golden Dawn party is being tried on – and makes the use of a Molotov cocktail a misdemeanor.

The proposed changes will also loosen the requirements for the release of prisoners serving multiple life sentences, such as the members of the notorious and now defunct N17 terrorist organisation. That includes the group’s top gun, Dimitris Koufodinas, who is serving 11 life sentences for as many murders, and the Xiros brothers.

Attorney and legal  commentator Sophia Nikolaou who has studied the proposed changes to the criminal code links them to the case of Koufodinas.

“A few days ago we learned that Koufodinas’ seventh furlough application was rejected. One of the reasons according to the judges was that the criminal code does not provide for the release of criminals who are serving multiple life sentences and that therefore they are not eligible for furloughs.”

That rationale is rejected in the proposed change to Article 105B, which would have allowed the Volos Judicial Council to approve Koufodinas’ petition.

“In any event, the draft law states that “the convict can be released if he is serving multiple life sentences and has served 25 years in prison,” Nikolaou stated.

Until now, the law said nothing about prisoners serving multiple life sentences, and the judges that approved Koufodinas’ furloughs interpreted that legal lacuna in the serial murderer’s favour.

The judges in Volos, however, decided that the silence of the law on that issue means that furloughs in such cases are impermissible.

The draft criminal code provision would allow Koufodinas regular furloughs and even an early release from prison.