Seven police charged over beating

Seven police officers were charged yesterday with a range of offenses, including torture, over a video showing two Albanian detainees being beaten and humiliated at the Omonia precinct in central Athens. The 30-year-old sergeant seen in the video, which was filmed on a mobile phone last June, and another officer have been charged with torturing the detainees. After completing his preliminary investigation, prosecutor Panayiotis Meidanis charged another two policemen with complicity in the torture. Another two officers were charged with harboring a criminal. The captain of the Omonia precinct, who denies any knowledge of the incident, was charged with dereliction of duty and harboring a criminal. None of the policemen was named. In written testimony submitted yesterday, the 30-year-old sergeant admitted slapping and kicking the detainees but said that he only did so in a moment of rage after they had repeatedly sworn at the 42-year-old woman from whom they had allegedly stolen a handbag. The officer denied the veracity of the video and said that he could not recognize any of the images. He has asked for the recording to be examined by police experts to check whether it is authentic. The video also shows the officer making the two detainees slap each other. Police are also conducting an internal investigation, set to be concluded in 10 days. The Ombudsman issued a statement yesterday saying that many complaints of police brutality are never fully investigated because of problems with the internal investigations conducted by the force.

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