Suspect held over Kuneva hit

A 48-year-old Albanian man believed to have been one of two assailants involved in an acid attack last December against the 44-year-old general secretary of the Athens cleaners’ union will today face an investigating magistrate on charges of participation in an attempted murder. The suspect, a former employee of a cleaning firm called Oikologiki, is alleged to have telephoned the home of Constantina Kuneva on December 23, the day after the attack. During an alleged conversation with the Bulgarian unionist’s mother, he inquired about Kuneva’s health but did not reveal his identity. According to police, the 48-year-old matches Kuneva’s description of one of the two assailants – the one who blocked her way as his accomplice threw the acid on her. Because of the damage to her vision caused by the acid, Kuneva is unable to examine a photograph of the suspect and provide a positive or negative identification. The 48-year-old, who has been detained on forgery charges in the past, denies any involvement in the attack on the Bulgarian woman. Police said the suspect, a father of two who lives in the central Athens district of Patissia, was fired from his job at Oikologiki last July. Sources at the cleaners’ union which Kuneva heads said that he had been demanding some 3,000 euros in unpaid wages from the firm. It is unclear whether his dismissal or salary demands had anything to do with the attack. Meanwhile police sources told Kathimerini that they are probing other cleaning firms in a bid to trace the second suspect, the one who actually threw the acid at Kuneva. They expect the next 24 hours to produce leads. Athens prosecutor Yiannis Sakellakos has been appointed to probe allegations of labor and social insurance law violations and abusive treatment of staff – particularly immigrants – by cleaning firms. Kuneva, who is still in hospital following the December attack which has disfigured her and damaged some internal organs, has reportedly referred to illicit practices by cleaning firms in her recent testimony to police.

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