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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-01-03

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PASOK on fugitive's death
  • [02] Prosecutor orders probe into fugitive's death
  • [03] Thessaloniki to organise Eurochamber's annual summit

  • [01] PASOK on fugitive's death

    The case of the Russian fugitive Maxim Zhilin who killed two policemen last week and whose body was found on Monday remains open, main opposition PASOK Spokesman Nikos Athanassakis said.

    The Russian fugitive's suicide "obviously does not shut this case," Athanassakis said on Tuesday, provoking a response by Alternate Government Spokesman Evangelos Antonaros.

    The PASOK spokesman added that the chief and deputy chief of the Ioannina Prisoners Transfer Department, who have been suspended from duty, cannot be the only ones responsible for the events that led to the killing of two policemen while transferring three convicts from Ioannina to Larissa.

    Athanassakis said that the problem was a broader one which concerns the Public Order Ministry.

    "We have a Public Order Minister who has disappeared and a Government Spokesman who has also disappeared," he said.

    PASOK's spokesman also referred to the case of the Pakistani immigrants who have claimed that they were kidnapped and questioned by Greek and foreign service agents in connection to the July bombings in London.

    Athanassakis said that the case should remain in the spotlight, as it has, and that it must be fully investigated and solved and that those responsible must be held accountable.

    He also said that British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw had recently spoken with PASOK President George Papandreou, reassuring him that British agents had not been involved in the questioning.

    Athanassakis stressed that while international cooperation is necessary in order to fight crime and terrorism, it must always be conducted within a legal context.

    Alternate Government Spokesman Evangelos Antonaros, responding to the PASOK spokesman, said that Athanassakis "in his first appearance in 2006 contributed nothing new, nothing positive, nothing constructive to political dialogue."

    [02] Prosecutor orders probe into fugitive's death

    The head of the Supreme Court prosecutor's office on Tuesday ordered a preliminary investigation into the conditions surrounding the death of an escaped Russian murderer, whose body was discovered by authorities a day earlier 1.5 kilometers from the spot where he gunned two police guards on Friday.

    High-ranking prosecutor Dimitris Linos also ordered a probe, conveyed to another prosecutor in the NW city of Ioannina, into the circumstances surrounding the ill-fated transport of the three prisoners by the slain officers.

    The body of 23-year-old Russian national Maxim Zhilin, who escaped on Friday after killing the two police guards, was found on Monday along the banks of a river with a bullet wound in the head.

    According to reports, Maxim Zhilin was clutching the revolver he took from one of the two slain policemen. Authorities found the body near a remote riverside trout farm after local residents reported hearing a single gun shot in the early morning hours of Monday.

    A Larissa coroner later confirmed initial reports that Zhilin had committed suicide by aiming and firing the revolver into his right temple. The time of death was determined as taking place 20 to 24 hours before the body was found.

    His body was found on the banks of the Malakasiotis River, a tributary of the Pinios River.

    According to top police officials during a subsequent news conference on Monday afternoon, the escaped man was without shoes and wearing only the shirt and pants he wore during the escape, even though temperatures were routinely below zero throughout the time he was on the run. Additionally, authorities said the site where the body was found had been previously and repeatedly searched both by ground forces and from the air by helicopter crews.

    A manhunt was ordered late Friday morning for the fugitive after he killed the two policemen escorting him and two 17-year-old Albanians charged with minor drug offences from a detention centre in Ioannina to jails in Larissa and Volos. One of the Albanians was injured by gunfire in the police transport van, while the second teen, who escaped with Zhilin after the slayings, was apprehended on Sunday some 12 kilometres from the scene of the crime.

    The two police officers -- a driver and a guard -- were killed near the village of Malakasi in the Kalambaka district of Trikala prefecture (central Greece) on Friday when they made an unscheduled stop because the prisoners persistently asked to relieve themselves.

    [03] Thessaloniki to organise Eurochamber's annual summit

    The Thessaloniki Chamber of Commerce and Industry is ready to organise the annual summit of the Eurochamber in October, the chamber's president Dimitris Bakatselos said on Tuesday.

    Speaking to reporters, Bakatselos said the summit will attract more than 1,000 visitors to Thessaloniki, including Eurodeputies, Commissioners, ministers, union representatives and company executives from Europe, Asia and the United States.

    "The year 2006 will bring our city in the focus. The organizing of the event is giving us a rare opportunity to promote Thessaloniki, Macedonia and our country around the world and will offer direct economic benefits, more credibility and know-how, thus strengthening a positive climate developing for our country," Bakatselos said.

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