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Society

Man Injured in Deadly Tempe Train Crash Sues Ex-Minister Karamanlis

ATHENS – A man who was injured in the February, 2023 train trash in Tempe that killed 57 people and left many with serious burns and critical wounds has sued then-transport minister Kostas Karamanlis, who had blamed those on duty before resigning.

Karamanlis enjoys immunity from prosecution as he was elected to Parliament from stepping down and that can be stripped only by a vote from the 300-member body but the ruling New Democracy has a majority.

The victim, who was not named, said the minister – who said he didn’t have enough time to implement safety measures that analysts said could have prevented the crash – was culpable for manslaughter, compromising safety and grievous bodily harm.

The tragedy will be debated in Parliament after a committee controlled by government lawmakers deflected any blame while rival party lawmakers found fault that led to the train wreck and death toll.

Some 1.8 million people signed a petition demanding an end to immunity for ministers and lawmakers but a law based on the Constitution is an obstacle as government lawmakers can vote down a fact-finding committee.

If such a panel were approved it would have to recommend whether Karamanlis can be prosecuted and Parliament would have to okay transferring the case to  Judicial Council made up of five senior judges.

The European Union’s chief prosecutor, Laura Kovesi, told Kathimerini in an interview that her office considers the law to be “in breach of EU regulations and law,” preventing a full investigation. But changing the law would require a Constitutional amendment, a lengthy process that must take place over two successive parliaments.

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