Injured officer in surgery again

The 21-year-old police officer seriously injured in an attack by unidentified gunmen in Exarchia was under observation yesterday after undergoing a second operation to stop a stomach hemorrhage. Diamantis Mantzounis was said to be in a critical but stable condition following the operation, which was carried out without complications, according to doctors. The operation was deemed necessary after Mantzounis started hemorrhaging from his stomach, punctured by one of the bullets. Medics said yesterday that the strain of the second operation would set back Mantzounis’s recovery by a few days. The 21-year-old has been in the intensive-care unit of the capital’s Red Cross Hospital since Monday January 5 after being shot twice in an attack involving assault rifles and a hand grenade. Of the eight people arrested on Tuesday during searches following the attack, one – in whose apartment police found a cache of weapons – was yesterday handed a suspended 15-month jail sentence. Meanwhile, just one month after a police bullet killed a teenager in Exarchia, the European Court of Human Rights condemned Greece for a police blunder in which an 18-year-old died when an officer’s gun went off by accident. A court ruling issued on Thursday decided that a fundamental principle of the European Convention on Human Rights, the right to life, was violated when Nikolaos Leonidis was shot at point-blank range during a bungled arrest in Thessaloniki in March 2000. The case – brought to the European court by Leonidis’s father – had alleged that the police officer used «excessive firepower and that the Greek authorities failed to carry out an adequate, effective and prompt investigation into the incident.» The court ruled that the policeman – one of two plainclothes officers who chased Leonidis and two friends after suspecting them of robbery – should have put his weapon back in its holster before handcuffing the teenager. The accused officer was acquitted of accidental manslaughter, while the victim’s father received 80,000 euros in compensation from the Greek government.

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