Existing evidence may not hold up in court, some sources say
Police investigations into the May 5, 2010 arson attack have honed in on specific suspects known to belong to the anarchist movement. Four of the people suspected of involvement in the attack were taken in for questioning last weekend on findings from an analysis of material gleaned from security cameras on Stadiou Street.
“The evidence is being examined in great detail and our investigations are beginning to gain more focus,” one high-ranking officer of the Greek Police (ELAS), who wished to remain anonymous, told Kathimerini recently. “However, the case presents real difficulties because the attackers had their faces covered.”
Even though the file is expected to be handed over to justice officials within the next few days, estimations over whether the evidence is strong enough to build a solid case have been contradictory.
Sources at the headquarters of the Security Police argue that the investigation into the incident is essentially over, with one high-ranking officer saying that there are only a “few small technical details” that remain to be investigated, adding that “the evidence is sufficient to make a case against the suspects of the arson attack.” The investigation has been carried out by the Security Police with the assistance of the AntiTerrorist Squad and the National Intelligence Service.
At the same time, however, officers at other related services have told Kathimerini that they have some reservations regarding the evidence found so far. They admit that the visual material is enough to identify the suspects, though they are skeptical about whether such evidence will be able to stand up to the scrutiny of a court.
The identification of the suspects was arrived at through footage from closed-circuit television cameras operated by private enterprises in the city center. Among these are cameras installed outside a store right across the street from the Marfin branch, which had been petrolbombed just seconds before the bank, possibly by the same group of attackers. “There are records of the attackers a few moments before the attack, as well as a few moments after,” said one source at the Citizens’ Protection Ministry.
The quality of the evidence, however, is put into question by the fact that most of the suspects’ faces were covered by hoods, scarves or gas masks, though it is believed that investigators have used biometric measurements, such as height, gait or discernible characteristics in order to identify them. Officers also note that the fire erased much of the forensic evidence that could have been used to strengthen their case.
One ELAS source further suggested that one or more members of the group of attackers were believed to have ties with the Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire urban guerrilla group, though this information was not confirmed. YIANNIS SOULIOTIS
Mourners from all over the city and from all walks of life laid flowers at an makeshift shrine in front of the branch of Marfin Bank on Stadiou Street the day after the May 5, 2010 firebomb attack, during which three employees died of asphyxiation. The graffiti behind the young woman reads: ‘We don’t consent. We Fight!’