NEWS

Jail hostage siege ended by seasoned negotiator

Alket Rizai, a convicted contract killer best known for two dramatic helicopter escapes from Attica’s Korydallos Prison in 2006 and 2009, was prevented from a third attempted breakout from Malandrino Prison in central Greece on Sunday by a police negotiator who ensured Rizai’s six hostages were freed unharmed after a 24-hour standoff.

The negotiator, who has arrested the Albanian criminal twice before, entered Malandrino Prison on Sunday with a team of special forces officers and communicated with Rizai for several hours to convince him to release the six guards he had taken hostage on Saturday night.

Negotiations were tense as Rizai had claimed to be carrying a hand grenade and explosives. The convict, who was being assisted by two inmates, is believed to have demanded a car. He surrendered when he realized he would be overwhelmed, according to police who said he had been bluffing about the explosives and had been armed only with makeshift knives.

Rizai broke out of Korydallos in 2006 and 2009 by helicopter in virtually identical escapes with Vassilis Paleocostas who remains Greece’s most wanted criminal.