Decision on Mati - no political liability.

As expected, the judgment in the Mati trial contains no political liability whatsoever.

Let's remember that then the fire swept everything and within two hours everything was lost. From 7 pm on July 23 we were counting dead. In the sea, in houses, in yards, on the streets, in their cars, when they were trying to escape from the fiery blaze. The dead over 100.

26 of the victims were found hugging most of them in the plot of death. A few meters from the sea, maybe a few meters from salvation.

They were given redeemable prison terms - 15 defendants unanimously acquitted - The decision of the Three-Member Misdemeanor Court of Athens for the fatal fire of the summer of 2018 in detail

Amid loud cheers, the court found six of the 21 defendants guilty and unanimously acquitted the remaining 15 of the deadly fire in Mati in the summer of 2018.

The Three-member Court of Misdemeanors imposed prison terms that for four former Fire Department officials cumulatively exceed 100 years. However, he stipulated that the five years are exible. He also determined that the penalties are converted into monetary ones, with the amounts ranging around 40,000 euros for each.

In the suffocatingly full room of the Court of Appeal, the president announced the decision, which differed from that of the prosecutor declaring them guilty:

Sotiris Terzoudis, then chief of the Fire Department (negligent homicide for 102 deaths and negligent bodily harm to 32 people. The guilt concerns the diversion of the helicopter that was going to Mati towards the Corinth refineries) - 111 years in prison.

Vassilis Matthaiopoulos, then deputy chief for manslaughter for the drowning of 9 people at sea, as he did not mobilize the fire brigade boats or EMAK boats - 15 years imprisonment.

Ioannis Fostieris, then head of ESKE for manslaughter by negligence of 102 people and bodily harm to 32. The guilt concerns the diversion of the helicopter and the improper operational management of the firefighting forces - 111 years in prison.

Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos, then commander of the Athens Fire Services for manslaughter by negligence of 102 people, bodily harm by negligence of 32 people - prison sentence of 111 years.

Charalampos Hioni, then commander of the Eastern Attica Fire Services, for failing to proceed with the organized evacuation of residents, for the lack of information on the progress of the fire and the improper management of the coordination of the forces - 111 years in prison.

Finally, the resident of Dau Pentelis Konstantinos Angelopoulos, from whose yard the fire started, was also found guilty of negligent arson - 3 years in prison.

The court recognized Sotiris Terzoudis, Ioannis Fostieris, Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos and Charalambos Chionis as extenuating circumstances.

Firefighters Christos Golfinos, Filippos Panteleakos, Christos Lambris, Christos Drosopoulos, Georgios Portozoudis and Stefanos Kolokouris, the then officer in the Aerial Media of ELAS Charalambos Syrogiannis, the then general secretary of Civil Protection Ioannis were unanimously found not guilty Kapakis, the then regional governor of Attica Rena Dourou and the then mayors of Marathon Ilias Psinakis and Pentelis Dimitrios-Stergios Kapsalis.

Vaios Thanasias, then deputy mayor of Marathon municipality, Evangelos Bournos, then mayor of Rafina-Pikermio, Antonis Palpatzis, then deputy mayor of Rafina-Pikermio, were unanimously found not guilty, despite the prosecutor's proposal to the contrary.

Violent reactions from relatives and residents

Upon hearing the decision, the dozens of citizens in the room reacted strongly, shouting "shame".

A relative of the victim who went in front of the accused was shouting for them to look her in the eyes. "They should have gone to jail by themselves! All innocent? There is no justice," he shouted at the accused.

“Damn you, you have no brains! Not even an apology," shouted another victim's relative, while many broke into tears and boos.

The backlash continued during plea bargains by the defense attorneys of the six guilty pleas.

"Your court is an insult to the dead, the living and the truth" someone in the audience began to shout, causing shouts and outbursts of anger from others, causing the court to stop sitting for a while.

The tension started when the citizens heard a lawyer mention about his client that he is a family man.

"All honest family men are... And we had families... I can't take it anymore... I've waited six years... I'm going to have a stroke today. Do you understand what you've judged?" said a woman..

The meeting continued, however, and was again adjourned after a while. Residents react with applause at every interruption while many of them shout at the judges "Congratulations. Don't you have a chip?". With anger some and crying many others shout at the court "In your hole... You are not human... All of Greece knows what happened in Mati and we rely on you.."

The tension peaked with the president's announcement of the termination of the meeting, at which point incidents were threatened when some of the audience moved towards the defendants and the intervention of the Police was necessary

The accused fled through the entrance used by the judges.

The prosecutor's proposal and the voluminous indictment

The judges after a process in the audience that lasted about a year and a half evaluated the thousands of pages of material, the dozens of witness statements, some of them shocking, the positions of the experts on critical issues, the apologies of the defendants, the prosecutor's proposal and the positions of the defense attorneys .

In the conferences that preceded today's meeting, the judges examined all the facts and every aspect of the case in conjunction with the legal framework under which "the deadly fire in Mati" is judged, in order to announce their judgment on the persons summoned to manage a fire that turned into the biggest tragedy the country has experienced in recent decades.

The court studied the proposal of Prosecutor Panagiotis Maniatis and the legal reasoning he developed for each defendant and the provisions that define his powers and scope of action.

The public prosecutor, last February, requested that the following be found guilty of manslaughter by serial negligence and by omission as well as serial bodily harm:

* Sotiris Terzoudis then chief of the Fire Department

* Vassilis Matthaiopoulos then deputy leader

* Ioannis Fostieris then head of ESKE

* Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos then Commander of the Athens Fire Services

* Charalambos Chionis then Commander of Eastern Attica Fire Services

* Vaios Thanasias then deputy mayor of Marathon municipality

* Evangelos Bournous then mayor of Rafina-Pikermio

* Antonis Palpatzis then deputy mayor of Rafina - Pikermio

Dau Pentelis resident Konstantinos Angelopoulos, whose yard started the fire, also pleaded guilty to negligent arson.

According to the Prosecutor, the then executives of the Fire Department, Christos Golfinos, Filippos Pandeleakos, Damianos Papadopoulos, Christos Lambris, Christos Drosopoulos, Georgios Portozoudis and Stefanos Kolokouris, should be acquitted. Also the then officer in the Aerial Media of ELAS Charalambos Syrogiannis.

At the same time, he requested the acquittal of the then general secretary of Civil Protection Ioannis Kapakis, the then regional governor of Attica Rena Dourou and the then mayors of Marathon Ilias Psinakis and Pentelis Dimitrios-Stergios Kapsalis.

M. Voridis: The sentence is disproportionate to the magnitude of the tragedy in Mati

As the court's decision on the tragedy in Mati had just become known, the interview of Minister of State Makis Voridis on the TV station "Sky" started from this topic.

"I am not allowed to comment on court decisions," was his introductory comment. And, subsequently, "obviously there will be appeals, we must also see the position of the prosecutor regarding the exculpatory proposals. There are issues ahead, so we, the government, are listening." In any case, "the question is reasonable, the reaction is reasonable, all this is understandable", he noted.

In the light, also, that "one should know the details of the case", the Minister of State expressed the opinion that "a sentence of this type for a tragedy of this type, for a tragedy and disaster of this magnitude, is disproportionate. We may not be able to determine whether it is the fault of the court, or the way the criminal case was drawn up, or the way the charges were made, the Prosecutor's Office that issued them, or whether it is the fault that there was no set of provisions that precisely defined responsibility. However, the general feeling is that something is to blame." In conclusion, "the sequence of responsibilities leaves us with a feeling that what should have been done was not done."

The statements of the Deputy Minister of Justice, Ioannis Bougas, also on Sky, were on the same wavelength. He described the court's decision on Mati as "incommensurate" to the magnitude of the tragedy, estimating that the prosecutor will appeal.

"At three points in time the victims, as well as the relatives of the victims, felt disappointment. The first was when the charge was a misdemeanor. The second time point was the long duration of the trial. We have already reached six years, to have a decision in the first instance", emphasized the Deputy Minister of Justice.

"And the third is the decision itself, not only in terms of the amount of the penalties, but also in terms of the range of defendants who are considered to be criminally responsible for the tragedy in Mati", underlined Mr. Bougas.

At the same time, he pointed out that the Criminal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure provide for the possibility of appeal by the Appellate prosecutor and estimated that it is almost certain that the prosecutor will appeal.

The relatives of the victims give a press conference

After the announcement of the sentences - "caress", as they describe them, the relatives of the victims announced that tomorrow, Tuesday (30/04) they will hold a press conference on the decision of the Court of Justice for Mati, at 1:30 p.m. in the hall of 1st floor of the Union of Editors of Athens Daily Newspapers (Academias 20).