NEWS

In Brief

KIDNAPPING

Prosecutor throws book at three for abducting girl A Thessaloniki prosecutor yesterday charged three men with a series of felonies relating to their kidnapping a six-year-old girl on April 11 and holding her captive, demanding $3 million in ransom, until their arrest in a police raid on an apartment on Monday. Sergei Zohabyan, 23, Dimitris Kitsikidis, 26, and Evangelos Saridis, 21, were charged with, among other things, kidnapping a minor, endangering a minor, conspiracy, illegal weapons possession, causing serious bodily harm, resisting authority, illegal possession of a Citizens’ Band radio with which they allegedly eavesdropped on police, and traffic violations. They were given 48 hours to prepare their defense and were kept in custody pending an appearance before an investigating magistrate tomorrow. One of the gang members reportedly said, «We played, we lost. Now we will pay.» The six-year-old girl was still under psychological observation in a local hospital and was expected to be released soon. SCHOOLGIRL DEATH Suspect father remanded in custody after testimony A father charged with murdering his 13-year-old daughter – found stabbed to death in their home in Pelasgia, near Lamia in central Greece, at the end of last month – was yesterday remanded in custody following a unanimous decision by the investigating magistrate and prosecutor who heard his six-hour testimony in a Lamia court. The fingerprints of Christos Voulgarakis, 35, were found on the kitchen knife used to kill his daughter Vasso. But Voulgarakis claims his daughter was murdered by unidentified assailants who allegedly kidnapped him after breaking into his home to steal his lottery winnings before releasing him near the northern town of Preveza a few days later. BANKS Services hit by strike Services at commercial banks will be disrupted again today as employees continue a 48-hour strike they began yesterday to press for better salaries and benefits. Yesterday, many privately owned banks remained open despite the strike called by the Bank Employees’ Federation (OTOE), whose recent wage negotiations with bank management representatives broke down. Unionists are seeking a collective employment agreement. Pro-Palestinian march The Marathon tomb is the starting point for a pro-Palestinian march being organized by human rights groups, workers’ unions and peace movements at 8 a.m. on Sunday. Another march will start at the Peace and Friendship Stadium in Neo Faliron and end at the Israeli Embassy in central Athens. A peace rally is scheduled to take place in Tel Aviv on Saturday. Fake euros Police in Thessaloniki yesterday confiscated the first forged 100-euro note to appear in the northern city after a gas station owner notified them that one of his customers had paid him with a fake note. The customer had already left the gas station – in the small town of Retziki, 4 kilometers outside Thessaloniki – before the station owner noticed the note was not genuine. Hot press? A man who received a suspended sentence yesterday for stealing newspapers and magazines from roadside kiosks may belong to a profiteering ring which sells stolen publications at a lower price, a member of the Newspaper Sellers’ Union told an Athens court. Christos Apostolides, 40, was given a seven-month jail sentence – suspended for three years – after his arrest on Tuesday in the act of stealing newspapers from a kiosk in Kallithea. Apostolides claimed he had not intended to steal. Similar batches have disappeared from several kiosks in the area, the court heard. Armed robbery Two robbers armed with a pistol and automatic weapon made off with 45,600 euros following a raid just before noon yesterday on a branch of National Bank in the Athens district of Koropi. The bank may have been operating on reduced staff due to a 48-hour bank employees’ strike which began yesterday.