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The court decides on Thursday for the daring helicopter escape from Korydallos

11 November 2010 / 10:11:46  GRReporter
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The criminal Alket Rizai, his girlfriend Aspasia Mitropa or Sulla, and their two alleged accomplices appeared yesterday to the Court of Appeals for the second time, but the sentencing was postponed to today because of lengthy pleadings of their defenders. In February 2009 Rizai and his fellow Vassilis Paleokostas daring escaped by helicopter from the safeguarded cells of the Athens prison Korydallos. For the second time. Two and a half years earlier, in the summer of 2006, the two old acquaintances outsmarted the police again in quite the same way.

Rizai was still caught as result of the feverish police work. Along with his favorite Sulla and another couple that was found with them in the house they had rented in the village of Ano Zulia, near Athens. Vassilis Paleokostas is not found yet. The Greek police forces suggest that he has escaped outside the country and now is in the Turkish part of Cyprus.

One of the most famous Greek lawyers Sakis Kehayoglou, defender of Rizai and his mate Sulla, was trying for nearly three hours to convince the judges that she is not Mrs. Alexandrova – the mysterious woman who had hired the fateful helicopter and had forced the pilot to land on the roof of Korydallos with weapon in her hand. In his emotional plea, the defender stated that two of the witnesses (the two pilots of the helicopter) are fully convinced that Sulla is not the woman who hired them and forced them subsequently to change their route and fly over the prison in the Athens suburb of Korydallos. A third witness - an employee of the rent-a-fly company thinks it might be her, but seriously doubts about it.

According to the defender, Rizai could not assign such a mission to ‘the love of his life’, in which the life of Sulla would be subjected to enormous risk. He preferred using Alexandrova paying her 500,000 euros from the ransom which and Paleokostas took from the spouse of the businessman they kidnapped – the former chairman of the Commerce and Industry Chamber of Thessaloniki Georgios Milonas.

"They have been together for a long time. They are very much in love. He loves her children as his own. How could he tell her to organize the escape once there is a danger of him being shot and blown up by the prison guards?" Kehayoglou asked the judges. Alket and Sulla were sitting side by side from the beginning of the hearing and he was holding her hand. She had prepared to meet her beloved with hair, makeup and nail polish. Rizai also was brilliant. Fearless as a man who has nothing to lose he made the impression that he controlled the situation in the courtroom. In a brief pause and before handcuffing them they succeeded to kiss.

The lawyer continued his pleading in defense of the woman, saying: “she did not abandon her children as one of the judges accused her. She left them alone for one night because when Alket called her she left immediately and her mother arrived in Athens the next day and then reported her missing. If Sulla was the ‘brain’ of the operation wouldn’t she inform her mother to come to Athens the same day?” said Kehayoglou, adding that the only thing she did was to legally buy the cars they were moving by and to rent dwellings to hide after his spectacular escape from prison.

"Love is the reason for everything. Every day that they spent together was unique for them," said the lawyer, adding that Sulla is innocent in the public opinion and that she is accused only because she is Rizai’s half. Anyway, he has already stated that he takes full responsibility and regrets only that so many innocent people got involved.

Shortly before the end of the first pleading Rizai asked something the policeman who was standing beside him. The moment his defender sat behind the bank Alket addressed the chairman of the judicial council, saying: "Mrs. Judge, we have been here so long and we have had no coffee yet. Let us smoke at least a cigarette." The court accepted his request and decided to break for half an hour. The judges returned to the room after 40 minutes but found no one there and came out again. The case continued after nearly an hour break and the dangerous criminal was the last of the suspects to enter the room.

Then followed the pleading of the defender of the other couple, Michalis Dimitrakopoulos, who said his clients are victims of the publicity which Alket’s case has gained. “The police had to keep them after finding them at Rizai’ house but how could we say that they have lived there since they have not found their clothing or personal belongings, but only one handbag.”

The eminent lawyer asked the court to drop off the charges of Ervis Stephanie and Blerina Lule

Tags: Alket RizaiSullaPaleokostasHelicopter escapeKorydallosCrime news
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