29 December, 2005
First-instance court public prosecutor Nikos Degaitis was on Wednesday assigned the investigation into the alleged abductions of some 20-odd Pakistanis living in Greece last summer, who say they were held for interrogation by Greek and British intelligence agents after the terror attacks in London.
The head of the First-Instance court public prosecutors' department Dimitris Papangelopoulos presented Degaitis with the case file that has been put together by the Athens police, which is principally made up of the depositions and suits filed by the Pakistanis making the complaint and various press reports on this issue.
The file also contains a suit filed by intelligence service (EYP) trade unionists against the newspaper "Proto Thema" for endangering Greek agents by publishing their names.
The investigation will now focus on the Proto Thema article listing the names of the agents who allegedly carried out the abductions and interrogations, and on the deposition of the lawyer representing the Pakistanis, who is seeking prosecution of the agents.
A meeting on the case was also held between Papangelopoulos and Supreme Court Public Prosecutor Dimitris Linos on Wednesday. Emerging from the meeting, Linos stressed that the case was very serious and had to be handled responsibly and with due consideration.
"My orders for a priority investigation will self-evidently not act at the expense of a full investigation of the case. The primary goal is to discover the truth. And the first thing that must be established is whether the events reported by the alleged abduction victims occurred," he said.
The abduction and interrogation claims have been denied by Public Order Minister George Voulgarakis and by the Pakistani Embassy in Greece, which said that it had received no complaints from the relatives or friends of the alleged victims, as well as Pakistani Interior Minister Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao when he was in Greece for a quadrilateral meeting on preventing organized crime two weeks ago.
According to one of the two lawyers representing the group, however, the Pakistani Embassy had been informed of the abductions on the very next day after they occurred and had done nothing, while putting pressure on the victims not to report the incident to the authorities.
The abductions were reported by the head of the Pakistani Community in Greece Tzavet Aslam, while the left-wing Coalition (Synaspismos) party has also been active in seeking an investigation into the matter.
British foreign secretary Jack Straw has also denied the allegations as "utter nonsense".
Source: Athens News Agency