Parliament to debate Tempe crash report amid cover-up allegations

Greece
Wed, 20 Mar 2024 10:03 GMT
Greek lawmakers on Wednesday will discuss the findings of a House committee probe into the deadly Tempe train crash, in what is expected to be a tense debate amid accusations of a cover-up by opposition parties
Parliament to debate Tempe crash report amid cover-up allegations

Greek lawmakers on Wednesday will discuss the findings of a House committee probe into the deadly Tempe train crash, in what is expected to be a tense debate amid accusations of a cover-up by opposition parties.

The cross-party committee looking into the causes of the deadly train collision in central Greece in February 2023, which claimed 57 lives and left scores injured, concluded its sessions on Monday with each party submitting its respective findings. 

The report that will be debated is the conclusions of the ruling Conservatives, with opposition parties accusing the government of trying to conceal its responsibilities for the tragedy by limiting the number of witnesses called and the scope of the inquiry.

This was compounded by a statement of the head of the European Public Prosecutor Office (EPPO) who told Kathimerini that a constitutional provision in Greece protecting ministers from prosecution is “in breach of EU regulations and law” and should change, as it does not allow for the full investigation of the train crash.

“We have brought criminal proceedings against 23 public officials and, in accordance with the stipulations of the Greek constitution, we have not been able to conduct the investigation against former ministers who are possible suspects in the case,” said Laura Kövesi, who heads the EPPO.

On Tuesday, the parents of victims filed a request in Parliament calling for the immunity from prosecution of two former transport ministers to be lifted.

Maria Karystianou and Pavlos Aslanidis, whose children were among the 57 victims of the deadly collision, called for former New Democracy minister and sitting MP Kostas Karamanlis and former SYRIZA minister Christos Spirtzis to be investigated over potential criminal liabilities. 

The government spokesman insisted on Tuesday that there has been no cover-up of the incident, accusing opposition parties of “instrumentalizing the pain of the victims’ relatives.”

An Alco poll conducted on behalf of private broadcaster Alpha earlier in March showed that citizens believe that not only have safety measures not improved, but that there is an ongoing effort to cover up presumptive misdealings by guilty parties.

Parliament’s plenary session will feature four rounds of speakers.

kathimerini

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