Officers escape time in prison

The two police officers responsible for allowing 33-year-old drug addict Dimitris Albanis to escape from custody before he went on to kill a bus driver in Thessaloniki on Saturday will not be going to jail after one received a suspended sentence yesterday while the other was given a term that he could buy off. The 49-year-old officer, whose gun Albanis stole, was handed a jail term of two years and four months, which he can buy off at 5 euros a day or a total of 4,250 euros. His colleague, who was also in the car, received an eight-month suspended sentence. The officers, who cannot be named for legal reasons, appealed the decisions. Relatives of the 59-year-old bus driver who was shot dead as Albanis tried to get away from the police decried the verdict and directed verbal abuse at the two officers. Both policemen defended their decision not to put handcuffs on Albanis before putting him in their patrol car, saying that they had arrested him more than 15 times and had never known him to be violent. «I would never put handcuffs on Albanis or anybody like him,» said the 49-year-old officer. When asked why one of the officers did not sit in the back seat with the suspect, the policeman replied: «For someone to sit in the back seat, they have to be a criminal. A policeman never sits in the back.» Albanis grabbed the firearm from the officer’s hip pack when he opened it to get out his mobile phone.