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Politics

Greek Court Refers 21 to Trial Over Deadly 2018 Mati Fire

ATHENS – Some 21 of 24 defendants investigated for their role in a shambolic response to July 23, 2018 wildfires that killed 102 people and nearly wiped out the seaside village of Mati will face trial.

They were referred by the Athens Appeals Council which found enough reason to forward the cases against them, including former Attica Regional Governor Rena Dourou from the then-ruling Radical Left SYRIZA.

Escaping charges though was the party leader and former premier Alexis Tsipras who said in the aftermath that he took only “political responsibility” although he was the head of state and charged with overseeing public safety.

The judges sent the defendant to the dock for misdemeanor offenses only though, as the SYRIZA government in its last days in office in 2019, downgraded many felonies and more serious offenses.

A prosecutor wanted the charges against the defendants upgraded over the loss of so many lives but that was rejected, leaving them charged with lesser offenses such as manslaughter and bodily harm through negligence through dereliction of duty.

Also heading for trial is the man started the fire by burning materials in his backyard although he hasn’t been named for four years, as well as regional mayors and other officials as well as those in civil protection, the fire service and police officials who had officers mistakenly direct people into the fire.

 

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