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20 high-ranking officials testify to prosecutor over deadly blaze in July

Regional and local government officials, former chiefs in charge of Police, the Fire Service and as well as members of the Coast Guard, a total of 21 people started arriving at the prosecutor’s office in Athens on Tuesday morning.

In presence of their lawyers, the officials have to answer questions about the tragedy in Mati, East Attica, where 99 people lost their lives and more than 180 were injured in the deadly wildfire last summer.

The officials are suspects for actions or omissions that led to the tragedy on 23. July 2018.

The crimes under investigation include criminal negligence, manslaughter, arson and exposure to danger.

These charges are also included in the lawsuits filed by the families of eight people who lost their lives in the deadly Athens wildfires.

Among others, prosecutor Ilias Zagoraios has summoned Regional Governor of Attica Rena Dourou, Marathonas Mayor Ilias Psinakis, Rafina Mayor Evaggelos Bournous, the former secretary general of Civil Protection as well as the former chiefs of Greek Police and the Fire Service, with the last three to have been forced to resignation a couple of days after the tragedy.

Other high-ranking officers of police, fire service and coast guard have been also summoned to testify.

Mayor Psinakis is reportedly also under investigation for the way he managed aid to the victims after pictures showing how the aid was “stored’ were uploaded on social and mainstream media last month.

One of the relatives’ lawsuits are also against the Ministers of Interior and Citizens’ Protection at that time. The case has been sent to the Palriament for investigation.

What is worth noting is that while evidence proved that the blaze was caused by arson on Penteli Mountain no suspect has been arrested so far.

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