Torture charges for two officers

Two policemen were yesterday formally charged for their role in the alleged torture and beating of Afghan immigrants at an Athens precinct almost a month ago. Following a preliminary investigation, prosecutor Panayiotis Panayiotopoulos charged special guard Vangelis Kambossos and officer Christos Trelias with torture, assault with intent to cause bodily harm and two lesser counts of assault. The two men denied the charges. Human rights groups alleged on December 21 that officers from the Aghios Pandeleimon police station in central Athens had tortured more than a dozen Afghan immigrants, subjecting them to beatings and mock executions, as well as photographing them naked during interrogation. The incidents – which prompted an anarchist attack on the precinct – allegedly occurred after the migrants were rounded up following the escape of an Afghan man from police custody. The two officers have been suspended following an internal probe, but have not been remanded in custody.