Attica wildfire officials to face retrial

Attica wildfire officials to face retrial

The defendants will stand trial anew, as if they were never acquitted or convicted, after a decision by the Athens Appeals Prosecutor’s Office.

Τhe appeal was made after a controversial verdict in late April convicting only five of the 20 defendants – former officials with responsibility for rescuing citizens and extinguishing the fire – was deemed incorrect.

Five officials, including the former fire chief, received suspended sentences of between 15 and 111 years for multiple counts of criminal negligence resulting in injury and loss of life for their role in the response to the fire.

For those survivors still seeking justice, the trial has been disappointing.

"We were very disappointed during the trial because we felt that there is no justice," Chrysa Gerakaki, a Mati resident, told Euronews.

Athina Moutafi lost her son in the sea in front of her eyes on 23 July 2018. She fought for six hours in the sea to save her daughter and survived. The trial has been a huge emotional burden for her.

"It was very difficult for me to testify. You need to say everything in detail so you relive it. I was fighting in the sea again. The same thing happened to my daughter," Moutafi told Euronews. "Because along with my son I also had my daughter that thankfully is alive. So I also had the emotional burden of my daughter in that moment because I knew how difficult it was.’’

Aris Herouvim, another victim, lost his mother, sister and twin nieces in the fire.

‘"We feel that justice negates itself, " Heroveim told Euronews. "The first court didn’t do something correctly and now we say that things didn’t go well and we take from the beginning? But yes, I am satisfied because it was confirmed that something was wrong with the first trial’’.