Minister denies prison briefing

Just over a week after an inmate killed two policemen as he escaped while being transferred between prisons, Public Order Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis denied yesterday a press report claiming that he had been informed of problems regarding prison transfers. Voulgarakis, who came under fire for his handling of the highly publicized event, said that «criticism is a necessary component of democracy that cannot be substituted by unethical journalism.» The minister was referring to a report in the weekly Proto Thema which claimed that at a meeting on December 17, Voulgarakis was informed of problems in the prison transfer service that were putting the lives of officers at risk, particularly in the department of Ioannina, northern Greece, where the killings later took place. The head of police, Giorgos Angelakos, also responded to the article by saying that the issue of prison transfers was raised at the meeting but not specifically in relation to Ioannina.

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