Greek Court Vacates Eight-Year Jail Term for Hospital Cleaner

A Greek appeals court on Monday commuted a hospital cleaner’s eight-year prison sentence to a three-year suspended sentence. She had originally been given the draconian eight-year penalty for forging her educational record in order to obtain her job.

The mother of thirteen, from Ioannina in northwestern Greece, had begun working at the city’s university hospital in 2003. She suddenly found herself facing legal problems when it emerged that she had secured the job by falsifying her primary school certificate to suggest she had graduated in 1980 rather than 1981.

The woman argued that she had falsified the certificate in order to find the job and support her children.

The court found her guilty of making a false statement and forgery, which cost the state 120,000 euros; but the judge acknowledged that she had committed no other offenses, and commuted her original sentence.

The cleaner, who was not named, thanked the Greek judicial system, her colleagues and Greek citizens for standing by her.

A strikingly similar case in the city of Volos, Thessaly, made national headlines last year, when a 53-year-old cleaner was sentenced to ten years in jail for the exact same crime.

Greece’s Supreme Court decided to intervene in that case, following an enormous public uproar to negate the sentence because it was considered excessively harsh and unreasonable.