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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-01-18

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] 'Freedom and security can coexist'

  • [01] 'Freedom and security can coexist'

    Investigations into the attack at the US embassy are continuing. Optimism was expressed by Greek Police (ELAS) chief Anastasios Dimoschakis that the case will be solved. 'Freedom and security can and must coexist,' government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said regarding the use of material from CCTV traffic cameras in the embassy environs, while the excellent cooperation between Greece and the US against terrorism was reaffirmed during a meeting between foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis and US ambassador Charles Ries.

    Freedom and security can and must coexist, government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said on Wednesday when asked to comment on the use of material recorded by CCTV traffic cameras on Athens' thoroughfares to help uncover the perpetrator's of last Friday's rocket attack the United States Embassy in central Athens, which caused minor material damage but no injuries.

    "When you have technology at your disposal, you can use this while absolutely respecting the Constitution and private life," he told reporters.

    According to Roussopoulos, surveillance and recordings by cameras should be allowed in public areas, where the private life of citizens was not being violated. He also pointed to the example of Britain, where the arrest of those responsible for the bomb attack on the London underground was made possible by using clues from CCTV.

    Asked whether the government was considering bringing legislation on this issue, Roussopoulos replied that the government was first waiting for the decision of the Council of State, Greece's supreme administrative court, to which the government has applied to obtain permission to use CCTV material as an exception to a independent privacy authority ruling banning their use for anything other than monitoring traffic flow.

    He also noted that the cameras had originally been installed for security surveillance purposes during the Olympic Games, during which time they were used in a way that fully respected the private life of Greek citizens, while noting that it was bizarre to send out a message that the Greek State was interested in protecting the lives of foreigners but not of Greek citizens.

    Meanwhile, the chief of the Greek Police (ELAS) Anastasios Dimoschakis on Wednesday told MPs on Parliament's Equality and Human Rights Committee that he was confident that police investigating last Friday's rocket-propelled missile strike against the United States Embassy would crack the case.

    "...when all the evidence is collected and processed we will have the result that you and we desire. We are serious. A mistake on our part from here on cannot be forgiven," he said.

    Outlining police actions in response to the attack and the progress of the investigation so far, Dimoschakis stressed that there had been a high-level response, in which all members of the police force had followed the plan developed for such incidents, which was now in full deployment.

    He said that all vehicles in the area - which exceeded 20,000 in number - had now been checked, as well as all Athens hospitals near the area since use of a rocket-propelled grenade was likely to cause injury.

    Dimoschakis underlined that the Greek police force was taking the case extremely seriously, with the anti-terrorist squad on full alert and collaborating with foreign law enforcement agencies, and police were gathering and analysing all the evidence in the case and were equipped with state-of-the-art laboratories.

    At the same time, the excellent relations and cooperation between Greece and the US were reaffirmed during a meeting Tuesday between foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis and US ambassador Charles Ries, who later said in an interview on national television that he felt "absolutely safe" in Greece and was fully satisfied with the Greek authorities' investigation into the embassy attack.

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