|Thursday, 18 January 2018|
The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 09-02-23
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
 Within Prison AssistanceSociety
Investigations so far indicate that the two notorious prisoners Vassilis Palaiokostas and Alket Rijai organized their helicopter escape with within the prison assistance. Following a decision by Justice Minister N. Dendias 3 guards, three prison employees and two prison - yard guards were sacked. Mr. Dendias also ordered opening of bank accounts of employees in Korydallos prison C'ward.
Public prosecutor has issued search warrant at houses of three prison employees arrested and are to stand trial at First Instance Court. The helicopter pilot and a prison -yard guard will also stand trial at First Instance Court. According to investigations so far lead authoprities to believe that the two prisoners were assisted by people within the prison to repeat their spectacular escape. Many unanswered questions, mistakes that can not be explained and strange coincidences support their belief. Some of the questions are: why the two prisoners were held in the same ward after their first escape, where Palaiokostas found the screw-driver with which he threatened the guard, why nobody was concerned hearing a helicopter flying over the prison and many more questions. Justice Minister, N. Dendias stressed that such escape could have not been achieved without involvement of persons within the prison. The director of the Justice Ministry Disciplinary Policy was relieved off his duties. Police have launched a manhunt to find the two prisoners. All suspect cars traveling in Attika, Boiotia, Eboia and Fokida are stopped and searched. In his statement, the pilot of the helicopter maintained that the woman passenger threatened him with a knife and a hand grenade to fly to Korydallos prison at low height and land on its roof. Civil aviation radars can not detect flights at low height. The two prisoners grabbed on an aerial ladder and climbed into the helicopter which had almost landed on the roof of the prison. The helicopter flew away while prison guards were firing at it to avert escape. The pilot was told where to land and as he said they tied him, put a hood on his face as soon as he landed the helicopter and was told not to take off the hood if he wanted to stay alive. Police found the helicopter in Afidnes at 16:45 and the pilot tied up inside it .
News item: 19288
 Ten Measures for Disciplinary InstitutionsPolitics
The Inner Cabinet, chaired by the Prime-minister had a long meeting today centered on measures to ensure security in disciplinary institutions. The measures discussed concern use of cell phones, training of prison guards and finishing construction of three new prisons. Meanwhile opposition parties have launched strong criticism on the helicopter escape of Palaiokostas for the second time. PASOK insists on its harsh criticism calling for the government's resignation. SYRIZA spoke of comic-tragic circumstances. LAOS president George Karatzaferis submitted a relevant question while the party's spokesman attributed political responsibilities.
Today's meeting of the Inner Cabinet focused on measures to ensure security in prisons after the helicopter escape of two notorious prisoners Palaiokostas and his Albanian accomplice Rijai. The government decided to take the following 10 drastic measures which literally change the situation in prisons.
1. Legislative regulation abolishing anonymity of cell card-phone holders. 2. Installation of electronic means to detect use of cell phones in prisons. 3. Changes in terms of hiring prison guards 4. Continuous training of prison employees and guards. 5. Legislative regulation for the hiring of heads of prisons providing for special qualifications. 6. Acceleration of construction of three new prisons. 7. Hiring of Security Advisor through international recruitment. 8. Staffing Prisons' Inspectors Body. 9. Legislative regulation providing extension of "source of income" to prison employees. 10. Stricter disciplinary procedures for prison employees.
Referring to the helicopter escape, government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros underlined that the government is convinced from data so far that the criminal act could have not been achieved without involvement of all levels employees of the disciplinary system, adding that part of the system proved so much corrupted that existing measures were inefficient and ineffective. Mr. Antonaros, however, did not refer to details regarding involvement of senior disciplinary system employees within the prison as a judicial investigation is underway Backing the new Justice Minister, Mr. Antonaros said that he assumed his duties only a few weeks ago. In response to a question regarding political responsibilities, he said that both the Justice Ministry Special Secretary and the Disciplinary System General Inspector, who are political appo8intments, have resigned. The government spokesman stressed that the issue has two dimensions, the penal which is being investigated and the administrative as some did not do their duties. An investigation on regulations on helicopter flights is likely to be carried out. Mr. Antonaros underlined that Greece is a safe country visited by millions of tourist every year in response to criticism by part of the press. Opposition Harsh Criticism
The incident has given rise to political unrest. PASOK demanded the resignation of the government and not only of involved Ministers. PASOK spokesman on justice issues, Dinos Roublias said: "yesterday's incident adds to a number of others indicating that there is no government, coordination of services and function of the state machine. Mr. Roublias repeated his call for the setting up of an intra-party committee on security issues, underlining that the specific incident involves both employees and political responsibilities for which the government says nothing
SYRIZA Parliamentary Group president spoke of comic-tragic circumstances which create Robin Hoods and repeated his party's proposal for intra-party committee on police issues and elections.
LAOS president George Karatzaferis wondered why the government did not take the necessary measures after the same prisoners first spectacular escape three years ago from the same prison to at least prevent the second escape. He also asked what the government intended to do regarding the specific incident and with the most effective guarding of prisons in general.
News item: 19276