Minister stakes job on EYP claims

Greek secret agents did not abduct Pakistani migrants last summer, Public Order Minister Vyron Polydoras said during a press conference yesterday, insisting that if their involvement was proved, he would resign. Polydoras also backed the comments on the case by his predecessor, current Culture Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis, as well as Justice Minister Anastassis Papaligouras. Voulgarakis, in particular, had vehemently denied that the Greek state had any involvement at all in the alleged incident. The public order minister defended his own controversial comments that kidnapping had become a «national sport» in Greece’s Pakistani community. Polydoras said there had been more than 10 such abduction cases since 2003. He criticized a report by prosecutor Nikos Degaitis which concluded that Pakistanis were kidnapped and interrogated in Greece in the wake of the London terrorist bombings last year. Degaitis had not been able to prove any involvement by National Intelligence Agency (EYP) officers. «For the time being, justice has set aside the possibility that the perpetrators came from EYP,» Polydoras said. «But justice believes that the incident happened, without supporting its argument.» The minister said that EYP agents were being asked to prove their innocence rather than Degaitis proving their guilt. The apparent collapse of allegations of kidnappings in Ioannina supports his belief that the incidents did not take place, Polydoras said. Meanwhile, the minister said that «satisfactory» progress was being made in investigating Greek terrorist groups but he refused to confirm or deny a press report that arrests were imminent.