Action on police beating

Three policemen and the chief of the Omonia police station in central Athens have been suspended after footage showing one of the officers beating two Albanian detainees was aired on national TV on Saturday. The video, apparently recorded on a mobile phone last June, appeared on the Internet and showed the officer slapping, kicking and striking the migrants with a baton. He also verbally abused the detainees and made them slap each other at his behest. The incident is alleged to have taken place at the Omonia police station. Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis said that the whole of Greece had been shocked by the images. «No one has the right to abuse the law and no one has the right to tarnish Greece’s image,» said Karamanlis, speaking in Crete. Public Order Minister Vyron Polydoras said the beatings were «an unacceptable act» and promised a thorough investigation. «Those responsible will receive exemplary punishment,» he said on Saturday. «The case is being sent to the public prosecutor.» The police department’s internal affairs unit is also looking into the incident. Only one officer, a police sergeant, is seen in the video but the voices of two others can be heard in the background. All three have been suspended. The Omonia police station captain does not appear to have been involved in the incident but was suspended pending a full investigation. None of the policemen was named. Authorities are also seeking to speak to the two officers who arrested the Albanian men on suspicion of snatching a woman’s handbag. «The lack of punishment for policemen who are responsible for terrible breaches of rights contributes to these bouts of lawlessness and police violence reoccurring,» said PASOK spokesman Petros Efthymiou. «Things have gone too far,» said Synaspismos Left Coalition representative Panos Trigazis. «There are responsibilities and they should be accepted. What is the Public Order minister waiting for before he resigns?»

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