Rape suspect Dimitris Lignadis prepares his defence from prison

The former director of the National Theatre was accused of sexual rape and harassment

The former director of Greece’s national theatre, Dimitris Lignadis, who was detained on charges of rape amid mounting accusations of sexual abuse in the country’s arts scene, is preparing his defence in prison.

Lignadis appeared handcuffed before a public prosecutor on Sunday after being accused of assaulting two men when they were minors. The 56-year-old, who will be kept in custody until his plea on Wednesday, has denied all accusations.

“He denies all that is being heard,” his lawyer Nikos Georgouleas said on Saturday night, confirming that the director had voluntarily handed himself in to police after a warrant was issued for his arrest. “He immediately came to the police headquarters, he is cooperating very well, we are moving ahead with the legal process.”

Earlier in February, Lignadis resigned as the head of the national theatre, denouncing the “toxic climate of rumours, innuendo and leaks” linked to his name. The latest allegations of sexual abuse against him are a continuation of a series of similar cases in the country’s art world.

The revelations began to surface after the Olympic sailing champion Sofia Bekatorou triggered an outpouring of national sympathy when she recounted her story of alleged sexual assault as a 21-year-old by an influential official in the Greek sailing federation.