Concerns are growing about conditions at the capital’s high-security Korydallos Prison following the death of a second suspected gang member there within a few days.
The 33-year-old man who was found dead in his cell on Sunday is believed to belong to the same gang as a man who was stabbed to death at the prison earlier this month, 36-year-old Albanian national Arber Bako.
Though the 33-year-old Albanian national may have died of a drug overdose, authorities are investigating the possibility of foul play due to his alleged connection with the two men accused of killing Athens lawyer Michalis Zafeiropoulos in the fall of 2017, who are suspected members of a gang of Albanian hitmen.
Police sources indicated that the 33-year-old was a drug user, and therefore a drug-related death is possible, but other sources with insights into the conditions at Korydallos did not rule out the possibility of murder. The results of toxicological tests in the coming days are expected to shed light on the cause of his death.
According to investigators, the 33-year-old had provided a safe house in the Athens suburb of Kallithea to his two compatriots who have been charged with the murder of Zafeiropoulos in an execution-style shooting in his office in October 2017.
A search of the Kallithea apartment after the two suspected assassins were arrested had turned up revolvers, Kalashnikov assault rifles, ammunition, explosives and two police uniforms.
Investigators suspect that there had been a plan to use the guns and uniforms to free the suspected leader of the gang, who was allegedly the target of a poisoning attempt in Korydallos.
The ringleader, who is charged with being a moral instigator in the Zafeiropoulos murder, is said to have asked the 33-year-old to testify as a witness in his defense. According to sources, the ringleader claims that the 33-year-old was murdered to prevent him from testifying to the alleged poisoning attempt.
The 33-year-old is also believed to have been connected to other violent incidents that were being investigated by police including an armed attack on a bar in Glyfada, also in 2017.
The death of a third inmate in Korydallos this month is believed to be drug-related. The Greek 55-year-old, who is said to have had a drug habit, is not known to be a member of any gangs.