NEWS

Hostage-taker surrenders at Central Greece prison

Alket Rizaj (seen in a file photo), the convicted contract killer who took hostage six guards at Maladrino Prison in Central Greece on Saturday and was in a protracted standoff with police negotiators, surrendered on Sunday night after almost 24 hours.

His hostages, who were five in number after one guard managed to escape, were reported to be in good health.

The Albanian national has managed to escape custody twice already – in 2006 and 2009, both times from Attica’s maximum security Korydallos Prison by helicopter, along with convict and known associate Vassilis Paleocostas.

He told hostage negotiators at Malandrino Prison that he was carrying a hand grenade and had packed his body with explosives, which he would detonate unless granted a safe escape.

According to authorities, Rizaj decided to surrender when he realized he would be overwhelmed by the police’s special forces. They said that his claim to be in possession of explosives was a bluff and that he was armed only with makeshift knives.

Police arrested another two inmates who are believed to have helped Rizaj take the hostages on Saturday.