NEWS

Matei death trial postponed

The manslaughter trial of seven Piraeus doctors for the prison death of a dangerous criminal three years ago began yesterday, only to be postponed when not all the defendants turned up. Sorin Matei died in the Korydallos Prison hospital on September 26, 1998, three days after being hospitalized for wounds received during a botched police operation to rescue a family he was holding hostage in their Athens flat. He had been heavily sedated, and bound hand and foot. Matei, a 26-year-old Greek-Romanian robber, had embarrassed the police earlier that month by escaping after another highly publicized hostage-taking venture which was covered live on television. During his arrest, he suffered severe head injuries which, in combination with the heavy sedatives given to him at the Nikaia General State Hospital, led to his death, according to a coroner’s report. Six Nikaia hospital doctors were charged with manslaughter for not taking proper care of Matei and for sending him on to the under-equipped prison hospital. A prison doctor was also charged. According to the paper, suspect accounts have been located in four Greek banks – Laiki, Egnatia, Commercial and Ionian – and an Athens Citibank branch.