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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-01-31

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Metro lines briefly shut down after alleged pickpocket flees into tunnel
  • [02] Justice Minister announces 12 measures to combat corruption in the justice system
  • [03] Karamanlis says gov't will not back down from fighting corruption; comments on justice system furor
  • [04] Famers to end 12-day rally in Tempe, freeze protests

  • [01] Metro lines briefly shut down after alleged pickpocket flees into tunnel

    A Hollywood-like chase of an alleged pickpocket stopped two busy metro lines in downtown Athens early Monday afternoon after the man ran onto the tracks with security guards in hot pursuit.

    The man fled through metro line 2 at Syntagma station, the main hub of the new metro system of Athens, while metro officials soon immobilised trains on both lines 2 and 3 for 10 and 30 minutes, respectively.

    Later reports said security staff subsequently "located" and "retrieved" the man at around 2:30 p.m. (local time), without giving further details on his condition.

    [02] Justice Minister announces 12 measures to combat corruption in the justice system

    Justice Minister Anastasios Papaligouras on Monday announced 12 measures designed to combat corruption within the system of justice. He said the new measures will soon be tabled in Parliament by his ministry.

    Under the new measures, passive bribery of a judge will become a felony instead of a misdemeanour and will carry a fine ranging between 100,000 to one million euros, while anyone offering gifts or money to a judicial official will also face prosecution for a felony.

    The number of court inspectors will be increased, as will the staff of the Inspection Secretariat.

    The 'means and assets' statement process will be activated, with extra resources for the service involved and inspection of statements for past years submitted by judicial officials.

    Any judge being investigated for serious disciplinary infringements will stop exercising his duties while the investigation is underway.

    Any judge who delays in the issue of a judgement beyond eight months will be subject to a disciplinary inquiry and have the case file removed from him or her.

    Other measures include the establishment of an appeals supervisor for examining magistrates for the larger courts in Athens and Thessaloniki, the introduction of severe penalties for perjury and filing a false complaint and ensuring that draws to select the panel of judges for criminal courts are unimpeachable, with a strict ban on replacing any judge drawn as a member of a criminal court.

    Finally, there will be a review of all past inquiries into disciplinary offences involving judicial officials that have been placed on file, where these point to corruption.

    [03] Karamanlis says gov't will not back down from fighting corruption; comments on justice system furor

    Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Monday referred to his government's "unwavering" decision to eradicate sleaze in every corner of the country's public life, in beginning his first public statement over the ongoing furor of corruption in the justice system.

    An investigative news programme's high-profile disclosures of bribe-taking by first instance judges, trial attorneys and court employees to parole felons, mainly convicted drug dealers, has sent shock waves through the independent justice system and apparently stiffened the government's resolve to pass draconian legislation aimed at weeding out rogue justices.

    The furor has also piqued the attention of the Church of Greece's hierarchy, as a controversial cleric's name has repeatedly been linked to the alleged cabal, multiple slander lawsuits and even an antiquities smuggling case on the island of Kythira.

    On his part, Karamanlis referred to the measures announced by Justice Minister Anastasis Papaligouras for greater transparency and improvements in the justice system, while he called on Greece's independent judiciary to expel the few corrupt judges, as he said, from its ranks.

    "The vast majority of Greek judges ... honor their oath and the institution

    [04] Famers to end 12-day rally in Tempe, freeze protests

    Cotton farmers from Larissa are to withdraw their tractors from Tempe on Tuesday after a 12-day protest rally, as part of a freeze on protest action for about a month.

    The farmers will decide on further action after February 24 when the agricultural development ministry will end hearings on objections submitted by farmers claiming that cotton they produced should be classed as legitimate output; and release findings on controls of stock it has conducted.

    At the same time, farmers aligned to the Communist Party of Greece on Monday began protest rallies around the country.


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