Artifacts action prompts reaction

One of Greece’s leading cultural and environmental organizations hit back yesterday at the arrest of its president last week for allegedly possessing undeclared antiquities. The Hellenic Society for the Protection of the Environment and the Cultural Heritage is celebrating its 35th anniversary this week and has taken the opportunity to defend itself against the treatment it received. The raid on its premises last Monday led to the society’s 70-year-old president Costas Karras being held in police custody for three nights. The organization issued a statement last week denying any wrongdoing. Vice president Vassilis Dorovonis told Kathimerini yesterday that the raid was unnecessary. «They seized items that Mr Karras had bought at auctions abroad. They even took his son’s cuff links, which were purchased at bazaars in Asia Minor.» Dorovonis underlined that the authorities had been properly notified about any antiquities at the society’s offices in Plaka, central Athens. «We have documents from 1989 in which the person in charge of the antiquities department decrees that the artifacts should remain on the premises,» he said. «People have been coming to see these items all these years and we have asked the Culture Ministry to come and put up a sign to inform people about them but this has not happened.»

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