Lowered tones on kidnap claims

Two leading members of the Pakistani community in Athens played down claims yesterday made by their fellow countrymen that they were kidnapped and tortured as terrorist suspects, saying that the issue has been blown out of proportion in order to hurt ties between the two nations. Twenty-eight Pakistanis claim they were abducted in mid-July from their homes and interrogated for several days by Greek and British security officers. Said Mohamed Jamil, the president of the Pakistan Cultural Association, suggested that the claims, which have made headlines around the world, have been misinterpreted. «We ask that the testimonies be repeated with other translators. The Pakistanis are complaining that the translator did not do his job properly,» he said. In a sign of political bickering between members of the migrant community, Jamil also said that the issue had not been handled well from the start, when the claims were first made. Meanwhile, the publisher of the local Pakistani newspaper Navai Vatan, Risad Bet, said that the issue has been blown out of proportion in order to «harm Greek-Pakistan ties, which are going well.» Meanwhile, the British Liberal Democrat MP Sir Menzies Campbell called yesterday for a high-level investigation into the claims, which involve British agents, to establish the truth and regain public confidence.