The Agriculture Minister Costas Kadis has proposed to the Ministry of Justice that the maximum penalty for forest arsonists gets hiked up to a life sentence, which, Kadis said, is the only move that can act as a deterring factor in a country where most forests fires are deliberately set.
Kadis said the Justice Ministry is already looking into the matter.
He noted that after the revision of the penal code in 2018, the penalty for such offences was set at 20 year imprisonment, which, Kadis noted, does not appear to be acting as an adequate deterrent.
“Something radical and particularly discouraging must be introduced as we consider forest arsons a crime of the worst kind, for which there must be proportionate punishment,” Kadis said.
Referring to the banning of through traffic on forest roads after a string of arsons over the weekend, Kadis said that the ban, which was enforced solely for preventative reasons, does not affect roads leading up to campsites or main arteries.
The ban remains in effect this week between the hours of 8pm and 5am, Kadis said, noting that these are the times preferred by arsonists.
“Day by day we assess the situation and if additional measures need to be taken, be sure that we will take them, because we want to protect our natural heritage,” Kadis said.