Greece plans tougher penalties for arson following Rhodes wildfires

By Lisa James
Home » Greece plans tougher penalties for arson following Rhodes wildfires

The Greek authorities plan to increase penalties for people who start fires through arson or negligent behaviour.

Measures will be announced next month but fines are likely to match those introduced two years for animal abuse, Civil Protection Minister Vassilis Kikilias said.

Those penalties carry a fine of up to €50,000 (£43,000) – 10 times the current level of fines for arson – and a maximum jail sentence of 10 years, the AP news agency reports.

“I am obliged to say that the next fire season will find us in a different position,” Mr Kikilias told state TV on Monday.

“It’s not just the penalties — the fines will increase tenfold — but we need a … change in mentality.”

He said the changes would include school programmes and local initiatives to promote forest fire prevention awareness.

Last month’s wildfires in Rhodes and Corfu are suspected to have been caused by arsonists and the fires in Rhodes forced Greece’s biggest-ever evacuation, including British tourists.

This week, Travel Gossip reported that Greece plans fam trips and travel trade marketing campaigns to encourage holidaymakers back to Rhodes.

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