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Two persons have been captured for the arson of Marfin Bank

30 January 2013 / 18:01:06  GRReporter
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Three years after the arson of the Marfin Bank branch in Athens, which killed three bank officers, the Greek police are sending two suspects to the judicial authorities.

On 5 May 2010 during the massive protest procession against the signing of the first Memorandum of financial aid to Greece, several people set fire to the branch, enraged by the fact that it was open despite the Pan-Hellenic strike.

Three bank officers were unable to leave on time and were found dead after the suppression of the fire. Among them was a pregnant woman.

For 32 months, the authorities have been collecting and verifying the information provided by different witnesses, analyzing the silhouettes of the suspects involved in the arson attack from the videos from the security cameras.

Initially and based on the materials of the preliminary investigation, the prosecutor’s office in Athens began a criminal prosecution against all persons responsible for the act. Subsequently, allegations have emerged against the two suspects, who are expected to appear before a magistrate on Friday.

Photo: ethnos.gr

Today, "Ta Nea" newspaper published the testimonies of four witnesses who had helped the authorities to arrive at the two suspects. In their testimonies, the witnesses make nearly identical descriptions of the attackers who smashed the window of the bank on Stadiou Street and then, set it on fire despite the calls of other protesters to stop, because they were putting at risk the lives of the bank officers.

Two other persons who were initially interrogated as suspects are not held criminally responsible, because the authorities have not found sufficient evidence of their direct involvement in the arson. A woman also appears in the testimonies of the witnesses but she seems not to have been involved in the attack.

Almost all the witnesses cite as the main acting person a tall man, wearing a backpack and a cap. Two other shorter men, also wearing backpacks, were with him. All three were wearing gas masks during the attack. Another witness recognized a woman as a possible participant in the arson of the bank branch.

According to another witness, one of the attackers stood out as a "leader." He was older than the rest, whom he recognized as perpetrators of the attack.

The stories of the people who saw the events at the Marfin Bank branch from up close are shocking. One of them even says that they reminded him of pictures of the attacks on the two buildings of the World Trade Centre in New York on 11 September 2001.

Witness 1

"When the building of Marfin Bank began to burn I saw something that reminded me of the Twin Towers in New York. I saw an elderly man jumping from the second floor and falling on the roof of the adjacent building in order to save his life. As far as I learned, other people had been burned alive. We expected this to happen when we saw the Molotov cocktails. We were telling each other that the people would burn like mice."

When the participants in the protest procession saw the Molotov bombs, they began shouting, "Don’t do it, don’t do it," but the group of people with covered faces continued, they threw the bombs and then walked away towards Syntagma along with the protest procession."

In his testimony, he describes the attackers: "Almost immediately after the attack on the Yiannos bookshop ended we saw a group of over 10 people with covered faces that began smashing the windows of Marfin Bank with hammers. I think they were not the people who had caused the damage to the bookshop. The people, who smashed the windows of the bank, threw inside at least two Molotov bombs or even more. We knew that there were people inside because we had seen them earlier on the balconies and so, we rushed to help with the fire extinguishers. When the participants in the protest procession saw the Molotov bombs, they began shouting, "Don’t do it, don’t do it," but the group of people with covered faces continued, they threw the bombs and then walked away towards Syntagma along with the protest procession."

The witness also describes the events before the attack on the bank. He was in the bookshop and he was watching the procession through the window. "Then, the people with covered faces started hitting the window with wooden sticks. One of them shouted to the others: "No, we broke up the bookshop before." Then, two others came, who were holding hammers; they smashed the glass doors and threw Molotov bombs in the bookshop. We went down from the middle floor, took the fire extinguishers in hand and started fighting against the attackers. One of them yelled, "What are you doing? We will burn you."

Witness 2

Tags: Crime newsArsonMarfin BankVictimsWitnesses
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