In an interview with Sunday’s Kathimerini, Yiannis Panousis’s first after claims that he received threats on his life and that SYRIZA officials had links with convicted terrorists, the former citizens’ protection minister claimed he received calls from government officials to release detained suspects.
Panousis gave the interview as Supreme Court prosecutor Efterpi Koutzamani ordered a dual investigation into his claims and into a legal suit brought by current Citizens’ Protection Minister Nikos Toskas and Justice Minister Nikos Paraskevopoulos regarding the alleged leaking of state documents in connection with the affair after several purported telephone conversations between SYRIZA officials and convicted members of the Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire guerrilla group were disseminated by the Greek media.
Panousis told Kathimerini that the documents he submitted to prosecutors are legitimate – “they have stamps, signatures and notifications” – while describing the action taken by the two ministers as “prohibited by the Constitution.”
Questioned about his claims that SYRIZA officials were in contact with terrorists and crime bosses, Panousis’s avoided elaborating but indicated that Panos Lambrou, a former adviser to Paraskevopoulos, is not the only SYRIZA official to have had such ties.
Panousis said Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras never intervened in his work, but he alleged that other government officials did. “When there were riots and there would be arrests, I would get telephone calls telling me to ‘Let the kids go,’” he said.
The former minister also expressed concern about whether the new SYRIZA government “will disarm the police, abolish the riot police force and engage in dialogue with masked protesters,” referring to older pledges by Tsipras and SYRIZA officials.