NEWS

In Brief

SMUGGLERS CONVICTED

Two ‘Palestinians’ get 5 years each for trafficking 66 immigrants A Cretan court yesterday passed down five-year jail sentences on two men found guilty of smuggling a group of 66 illegal immigrants on a boat caught off the island’s southern coast earlier this week. The men, who claimed to be Palestinian nationals and identified themselves as Tayian Al Fayed and Omar Hassan, were originally believed to be part of the group of would-be migrants. The court originally handed them down jail sentences of 66 years each – corresponding to the number of migrants – but later reduced the sentences. The two men, who are believed to be Egyptians, denied the charges. ELA TRIAL Defense appeal for presiding judge to be removed due to ‘bias’ An Athens court trying five suspected members of the Revolutionary Popular Struggle (ELA) terrorist group is today due to respond to an appeal by defense lawyers that presiding Judge Elissavet Brilli be dismissed from her post for an alleged bias in favour of prosecution witnesses. Lawyers representing defendant Irini Athanassaki lodged their appeal yesterday, claiming they had been subjected to constant threats of indictment and disciplinary action by Brilli during the trial. Brilli said she had respected the criminal code, the Constitution and human rights. KARPATHOS FIRE Blaze ravages 40 hectares A team of firemen aided by four firefighting aircraft and a helicopter yesterday afternoon managed to bring under control a fire that broke out early in the morning on the eastern Aegean island of Karpathos. The blaze, believed to have been ignited by a fallen electricity cable and quickly fanned by strong winds, destroyed around 40 hectares of forestland near the village of Mesohori and caused damage to oil warehouses, beehives and agricultural machinery. Railway disruptions There will be no service between Omonia and Attiki stations on the Piraeus-Kifissia urban electric railway (ISAP) tomorrow and on Sunday due to ongoing renovation works at Victoria station, ISAP said yesterday. Commuters can use their railway ticket on the metro system for the journey on those days, ISAP said. High priest A 44-year-old priest yesterday faced a prosecutor after police found just under 5 grams of hashish and four cannabis trees in his home in the village of Lygia in the prefecture of Ileia. Officers also found an 18-centimeter knife at the home of the village cleric, identified only as D.M. Prostitutes protest A group of around 100 prostitutes demonstrated in central Athens yesterday in protest at the closure of a brothel in accordance with draconian legislation that bans such establishments from a 200-meter radius round buildings such as churches or schools. The protesters then appealed for a softening of the law during a meeting with Deputy Interior Minister Thanassis Nakos. But Nakos stressed that the State would continue to close illegal brothels. Bus accident Eight passengers on an Athens bus sustained minor injuries after being hit by an tourist coach at the junction of Kifissias Avenue and Pendeli Street in the northern suburb of Maroussi shortly after 5 p.m. yesterday. The coach was carrying no passengers. Embezzlement The fund for the self-employed (TEBE) has taken legal action against a former employee at one of its Thessaloniki offices who allegedly embezzled 1 million euros from the fund, TEBE said yesterday. K.S., who was suspended from his post as deputy head of the fund’s Ilioupolis office in February last year, allegedly offered to exempt fund members from outstanding contributions in exchange for bribes from 1997 to 2002. Three alleged accomplices have also been charged. Mauthausen Mikis Theodorakis’s musical composition «Mauthausen» is to be performed at a memorial at the former Nazi concentration camp in Austria on Sunday in honour of the prisoners who died at Mauthausen. A special memorial service for the Greek victims is to be conducted by the Greek Orthodox bishop of Austria, Michail.