ATHENS – Former Attica Governor Rena Dourou is being prosecuted on charges of alleged negligence for ignoring violations of building construction codes blamed for deadly foods in the town of Mandra but has refused to show up in court so far.
With the former ruling Radical Left SYRIZA she served downgrading penalties for many serious crimes just before being ousted in July 7, 2019 snap elections by New Democracy, the trial is being held in a misdemeanors court, the offenses not a felony.
Dozens of relatives of the flood’s 25 victims appeared at the first session on Jan. 24 but not Dourou nor other suspects, including government officials, which is routine in Greece as they are not forced to appear for their trials.
The charges faced by local, regional authority and town planning officials include manslaughter through neglect, bodily harm, provoking floods through neglect, violating construction regulations and breach of duty, said Kathimerini.
In March, 2019, families of the victims also brought suit over the flash flooding made worse by unlawful construction damming up water and trapping victims in cars, rushing waters and even in their homes. They are seeking compensation for mental anguish.
They cited nine officials in their suit after prosecutors charged those responsible for ensuring safety had failed to do so, led by Dourou who’s also being prosecuted for fires management failures in July 23, 2018 blazes that killed 103 people.
In a statement issued by the legal office representing the three victims – Giorgos Alexiou, Dimitris Goutos and Serafeim Gortzas – said that they had been in a group of 10 people who had gone hunting when they were caught in flash floods.
The causes of the tragedy and role of state officials were outlined in a prosecutor’s report, the statement said, according to Kathimerini. Earlier reports said successive governments had allowed unlawful construction that blocked gullies and blocked water runoff, causing the disaster – which had occurred before and were ignored.
A months-long investigation into the causes of the catastrophic floods in Mandra, which killed 25 people and resulted in huge damage to homes and infrastructure, pointed to negligence by local and regional authorities, noting no flood prevention works had been carried out to avert such a big disaster.