Government apology for beaten youth

The government yesterday apologized for the severe beating of a 24-year-old student during clashes between police and demonstrators at a rally in Thessaloniki last Friday. Cypriot student Avgoustinos Dimitriou has been in the hospital since Friday after suffering a broken nose and severe bruising in the alleged attack during the annual march commemorating a 1973 student uprising against the military junta. «The condemnation of this incident… and the decision to order an internal police investigation constitute the government’s apology in practice,» said government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos. Public Order Minister Vyron Polydoras yesterday ordered the suspension of three police officers believed to have instigated the beating of the student and the immediate transfer of another three officers for alleged inactivity and negligent supervision of their subordinates. Also, the minister is said to have urged the swift completion of a police probe into the incident so further responsibility can be attributed where appropriate. Meanwhile, the prosecutor entrusted with the preliminary investigation into the case heard the depositions of Dimitriou’s sister and two witnesses of the alleged beating. Appeals court prosecutor Zacharias Mouratis also asked for a videotape that allegedly shows footage of three plainclothes officers beating Dimitriou while colleagues in uniform look on as the 24-year-old calls for help. The government’s apology yesterday came following a public outcry over alleged police brutality exercised against Dimitriou and stern criticism from opposition parties. Roussopoulos described as «extreme» a reference by PASOK leader George Papandreou to «para-state phenomena» operating in Greek society. Roussopoulos also expressed «the government’s condemnation of the activities of a few isolated individuals who discredit the work of thousands of police officers who are often risking their lives.»

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