Of­fi­cials sum­moned over fires

Pros­e­cu­tor in­vites more than 20 peo­ple to tes­tify as sus­pects, in­clud­ing a re­gional gover­nor and may­ors

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Prose­cu­tors in­ves­ti­gat­ing the deadly fires that dev­as­tated parts of east­ern At­tica last July have sum­moned more than 20 peo­ple to tes­tify next week as sus­pects for ac­tions or omis­sions that led to the deaths of 99 peo­ple.

The crimes in­ves­ti­gated in­clude those men­tioned in law­suits filed by the rel­a­tives of eight peo­ple who per­ished in the wild­fire at Mati: crim­i­nal neg­li­gence, man­slaugh­ter, ar­son and ex­po­sure to dan­ger.

Among oth­ers, pros­e­cu­tor Ilias Zago­raios sum­moned At­tica Re­gional Gover­nor Rena Dourou – who has also been sum­moned to tes­tify on the floods in Man­dra, western At­tica in Novem­ber 2017, which left 24 dead – Marathon Mayor Ilias Psi­nakis, Ra­fina Mayor Evan­ge­los Bournous, former gen­eral sec­re­tary for civil pro­tec­tion Yian­nis Ka­pakis, former fire ser­vice chief Sotiris Ter­zoudis, former po­lice chief Con­stanti­nos Tsou­valas and other high­rank­ing of­fi­cers of the po­lice force, fire ser­vice and coast guard.

Psi­nakis is also un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion by prose­cu­tors for the way in which aid for the fire vic­tims was man­aged.

One of the law­suits filed by rel­a­tives of the vic­tims was against the min­is­ters of the in­te­rior and cit­i­zens’ pro­tec­tion at the time, Panos Sk­ourletis and Nikos Toskas. Their case has been sent to Par­lia­ment for in­ves­ti­ga­tion. The process of sum­mon­ing sus­pects is usu­ally a pre­cur­sor to crim­i­nal prose­cu­tions.

Yes­ter­day’s sum­mons were is­sued al­most two months af­ter the open­ing of an ur­gent pre­lim­i­nary in­ves­ti­ga­tion by Supreme Court pros­e­cu­tor Xeni Dim­itriou in the af­ter­math of the fire.

Dim­itriou had ini­tially re­quested that the com­ple­tion of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion be held off un­til a re­port by the gen­eral in­spec­tor of pub­lic ad­min­is­tra­tion, Maria Pa­paspy­rou, had been taken into ac­count.

How­ever, she re­tracted her re­quest fol­low­ing a storm of crit­i­cism from the me­dia, the po­lit­i­cal op­po­si­tion and the fam­i­lies of the fire vic­tims. Dim­itriou said at the time her re­quest was not aimed at caus­ing de­lays in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

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