NEWS

5 prisoners in toilet breakout

Five prisoners, including two convicts serving life sentences for murder, escaped from police custody in Thessaloniki early yesterday after sawing through the bars on a toilet window with a file. All six policemen who were on duty at the time at the Thessaloniki detention center – where convicts or crime suspects are held pending trial or transfer from prison to prison – were charged with negligence. One of the five escapees, theft suspect Panayiotis Karagounis, 18, was arrested shortly afterward at his home in the Aghia Sophia Gypsy camp in Thessaloniki. The others, murderers Panayiotis Baharidis, 35, and Christos Ioannou, 33, as well as Albanian drugs suspects Florian Gega, 26, and Artan Ago, 26, remained at large. All had been held for the past 10 days, pending transfer to the Diavata prison outside Thessaloniki. Police said the fugitives should have been transferred several days ago, but the prison had nowhere to put them. Over 80 people are being held at the center, which was built for 40 prisoners.