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Three Marfin Bank representatives have been sentenced for the death of the employees caused by the arson of its branch

23 July 2013 / 14:07:10  GRReporter
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The first persons punished for the death of the three employees of Marfin Bank on 5 May 2010 are not the people who had thrown a Molotov cocktail inside it but three members of the management of the financial institution.

Pregnant Angeliki Papathanasopoulou, Paraskevi Zoulia and Epaminondas Tsakalis lost their lives due to suffocation during the massive procession against the first Memorandum of financial aid to Greece. The court in Athens has found three members of Marfin Bank’s management guilty of the death of the three employees and of the injuring of 21 of their colleagues.

According to the unanimous decision, Konstantinos Vasilakopoulous, Managing Director of the bank, and Emmanuel Volanakis who was in charge of the security of the bank are guilty. The court has sentenced them to 22 years in prison, without acknowledging any extenuating circumstances. However, they have been set free until the court of second instance considers their appeal and each of them, within 40 days, must pay a guarantee to the amount of 40,000 euro to continue to be free.

The court has been milder to Anna Vakalopoulou, director of the branch, and has sentenced her to five years and one month, releasing her without any conditions. The judges have freed from guilt deputy director Anastasia Koukou who was charged with manslaughter and bodily harm.

It is worth noting that only 10 of the 22 years in prison to which the managing director and the person in charge of security have been sentenced are effective.

However, the case of the bank arson is not yet archived. The judicial council has decided to forward a copy of the court documents to the prosecution, which will determine whether other members of the Bank's management are to be blamed for the lack of security measures, as a result of which the employees of the branch on Stadiou Street were actually trapped inside the building and had no chance of safely getting out of it.

The prosecutor was particularly sharp with respect to the liability of the defendants and requested that each of them be sentenced. According to her, they were able to "foresee and prevent the outcome but, instead, they had not taken any fire precaution measures nor had they organized the evacuation of the building."

The prosecutor stressed, "They, even at the last minute, did not evacuate the bank which was entirely exposed to danger. They should have evacuated it as had happened with other banks in the area during the same day." According to her, the defendants should have taken measures to protect the building from fire and should have trained the staff, bearing in mind the fact that the branch had been set on fire in the past.

She also said that the persons responsible for this had not taken steps to draw up an evacuation plan in the case of fire, nor had they secured a certificate from the fire department.

In their testimonies, the survivors of the fire identified the building as a "grave." "None of us knew how to get out. If there were an emergency exit we would have been able to get out on time. We have never held evacuation trainings. There was one door which led to another. The second door was wooden and opened by pressing a button which stopped working after the short circuit. It would be ridiculous to define it as an emergency exit since it had neither a proper designation, nor was it unlocked," they said.

The relatives of the victims accept the court decision with relief, although it "cannot compensate for the loss."

At the same time, there are dozens of comments in the social media, condemning the authorities for not having yet apprehended the attackers who had unscrupulously set fire to the branch. In January this year, the police, guided by the shattering testimonies of the direct witnesses of the attack, had caught two people. They were later released due to lack of evidence.

Tags: Crime newsMarfin BankArsonVictimsCourt
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