Friday, May 24 2024

Mati Trial: Furious the victims' relatives after the verdict - "There is no justice!"

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The trial for the fire disaster in Mati, that claimed the lives of 104 innocent people and shocked the entire Greece and the world, on July 23, 2018, ended yesterday and the verdict infuriated the relatives of the victims as only 6 of the 21 defendants were found guilty and even they received redeemable sentences!

HDN Newsroom

"This is not justice, this is not a state," one relative shouted, while another relative burst out shouting "damn, you have no shame! Not a single apology."

Some relatives broke down in tears upon hearing the decision, while others in anger began shouting. "They had to go to jail on their own! All innocent? There is no justice!" said one as he went in the front and began shouting at the accused. "Look me in the eye," one mother who lost her children in Mati was quoted as saying.

It is noted that only six out of the total 21 defendants were found guilty. The three-member Athens Misdemeanour Court announced its decision on the guilt of the 21 defendants on Monday morning after a long hearing, finding six guilty and acquitting 15 of the 21 defendants.

Angela, who lost her mother in Mati, expressed her regret over the court's decision. "What I feel right now is that as long as there is a cover-up in all these events and leniency for the accused, we citizens, who are victims, will have a competition about what is the biggest disaster that has ever happened. Mati, Tempe, Mandra. As long as this situation continues, we citizens will be at odds over who has the most pain. I regret this decision, I was sure of the result, I did not want to believe it, but today it turns out that we do not matter at all. We are lucky to live, and I personally live by chance," she said.

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"Your court is an insult to the dead" said one woman. The tension started when citizens heard a lawyer say that his client is a family man. "All honest family men are... And we families had... I can't anymore... I waited six years... I'm going to have the stroke today. Have you understood what you tried?"  said one woman.

The proceedings were interrupted several times and at each interruption the victims' relatives reacted sarcastically with applauses of disapproval while many of them shouted at the judges "Congratulations". 

The sentences that outraged the relatives and the public:

The three-member Athens Misdemeanour Court imposed five-year prison sentences on five former high-ranking fire brigade officials in the Mati trial and commuted these sentences into fines, with amounts ranging around 38,000 euros each.

Konstantinos Angelopoulos, the man who set the fire in Daou Penteli that then expanded, was sentenced to just three years in prison for arson.

The court's decision for the six found guilty is as follows:-

- Sotiris Terzoudis, chief of the Fire Brigade, a total prison sentence of 111 years, i.e. 5 years.

- Vasilis Mattheopoulos, deputy chief of the Fire Brigade, a total sentence of 15 years in prison, i.e. 5 years.

- Ioannis Fostieris, commander of the Unified Coordination Centre of Operations, sentenced to 111 years in prison, i.e. 5 years.

-Nik. Panagiotopoulos, commander of the Athens Fire Brigade Command, sentenced to 111 years in prison, i.e. 5 years.

- Charalambos Chionis, commander of the East Attica Fire Brigade, sentenced to 111 years in prison, i.e. 5 years.

- Kon. Angelopoulos, resident who set the fire, sentenced to 3 years in prison.

It is noted that the mitigating circumstance of previous lawful life was granted by the court to four of the six.

Extenuating circumstances were granted to Sotiris Terzoudis, Ioannis Fostieris, Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos and Charalambos Chionis.

He did not grant extenuating circumstances to Vasilis Mattheopoulos and Konstantinos Angelopoulos.