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The Supreme Court upholds the sentence of Yanko Stoimenov

17 July 2013 / 15:07:49  GRReporter
4192 reads

Maria S. Topalova

    The Supreme Court of Greece has confirmed the criminal conviction of Yanko Stoimenov and the other two employees of Cypriot Helios Airways whose plane crashed near Athens in August 2005. The crash killed all 121 people on board. The decision was expected, not because it is fair but due to the bias of the Greek court and its conception that there must necessarily be convicted and sentenced persons in the case of an accident with a large number of victims. What was unexpected, however, is the way in which this decision has been announced, namely that Giannakis Ioannou, a lawyer for the victims' families, informed the Cypriot news agency of it.
    Yanko Stoimenov has learnt about it from a publication in the Cypriot newspaper "Politis". "Clearly there is a leak of information from the secretary’s office of the court and the news is probably true," Stoimenov’s Greek lawyers Stelios Voudouris and Ioannis Haniotis comment.
    The three employees of the already former Helios Airways, namely Yanko Stoimenov, chief pilot, George Kikidis, head of flight operations and Dimitris Pandazis, managing director, were convicted to 122 years in prison in the first instance. Because of their clean criminal records and good behaviour the Court of Appeals has reduced the sentence to 10 years with a right of redemption. The three of them have paid large sums of about 70,000 euro to redeem their right to be free.
    All three have appealed against the verdict to the Supreme Court and asked to be freed from guilt. The reasoning of Yanko Stoimenov involved the issue of the violation of his human rights as no professional translator had been provided for him in the court.
    The arguments of all court instances are based on the report of the Greek board to investigate the crash, according to which the cause of the crash was that the pilots had left the controlling switch of the pressurization system in manual instead of in automatic mode. This report has been criticized by some of the most renowned aviation specialists in the world who have proved that the position of the switch was in automatic mode and that the cause of the crash was a flaw in the design of this type of aircraft. The court has systematically rejected all arguments for reinvestigation of the case.
    The crashed plane was a Boeing 737-300. The company has already compensated the relatives of the victims.

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Tags: Yanko StoimenovSentenceSupreme CourtHelios AirwaysPlane crashBoeing 737
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