NEWS

Greek anger at reports on Himara killing

Foreign Ministry spokesman Grigoris Delavekouras on Wednesday expressed Greece?s ?intense concern? over press reports in Albania which suggest that the death of a 35-year-old ethnic Greek man in the southern Albanian town of Himara last August was the result of a traffic accident and not a lynching by far-rightists.

?On August 2010 a gang of nationalists chased and murdered the ethnic Greek Aristotelis Goumas because he had been speaking Greek,? Delavekouras said.

He added that recent reports in the Albanian press ?renaming [the killing] as an accident? were unacceptable to Greek authorities.

The ministry spokesman noted that Albanian authorities – including the country?s prime minister, Sali Berisha – had condemned the killing as ?horrific murder? last year and he called on them to speak out again now that the incident has been distorted in the Albanian press.

Delavekouras added that Berisha?s deputy, Ilir Meta, had expressed his conviction that Albanian prosecutors would shed light on the exact circumstances of the killing, adding that Greek authorities would ?very carefully follow the developments of the judicial process? regarding Goumas?s death.

Eight Albanian nationals were remanded in custody last summer for deliberately running over and killing Goumas in Himara. The day before Goumas was killed, three ethnic Greeks had filed official complaints with police in Himara after they allegedly received threats because they were speaking Greek.

Himara once had a strong ethnic Greek presence. It is estimated that about 15,000 people of Greek origin lived there following World War II, though this number is believed to have dwindled to about 3,000 today.