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Politics

Greece: Opposition MPs Walk Out of Parliamentary Committee Examining Tempi Train Disaster

February 20, 2024

ATHENS – The MPs of main opposition SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance, PASOK-KINAL and the right-wing Spartiates Party on Tuesday announced their decision to walk out of the Parliamentary Committee investigating the Tempi train disaster, accusing ruling New Democracy of trying to engineer a “cover-up” and acquit those responsible.

“Our continued presence and participation in the procedures of the Investigating Committee would lend legitimacy to the ruling majority’s pre-determined decision to acquit … those responsible for the crime at Tempi, where 57 young people lost their lives and 180 Greek citizens were injured. We will not consent to the cover-up of a national crime of such magnitude,” the four SYRIZA-PA MPs said, announcing their decision to depart.

Accusing the committee chair of treating their attempts to determine the truth in an “insulting and contemptuous manner”, they also noted the majority’s refusal to summon key witnesses and documents requested by SYRIZA.

The MPs of opposition PASOK-KINAL likewise walked out of the hearings, while accusing the ruling majority of “leading the operation of the committee to an impasse” and declaring that they “refuse to participate in methods for covering up the truth”.

Meeting of the Commission of Inquiry for “the investigation of the Tempi crime and all aspects related to it”, Tuesday February 20, 2024. (YANNIS PANAGOPOULOS/EUROKINISSI)

In a statement, MPs Milena Apostolaki, Apostolos Panas and Georgios Nikitiadis said that respecting the memory for the 57 killed in the tragic train accident and the pain of their families should be the sole guideline for the investigating committee, “whereas its course until now has been in entirely the opposite direction.”

They strongly criticised the way in which the hearings were conducted, including the exclusion of persons who would have been material witnesses, saying that this had confirmed the party’s original position in calling for an ad hoc parliamentary committee to conduct a preliminary investigation.

The Spartiates Party said the government was turning the parliamentary investigation into a “grand fiasco”, citing problems with the testimony of the former transport minister and also complaining that key witnesses had not been called to testify.

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