NEWS

Jail has ‘no plan’ to avert breakouts

As police scoured the country for signs of the two notorious criminals who escaped from Korydallos jail on Sunday in a daring repeat of their June 2006 helicopter breakout, the prison’s recently sacked governor said that there is still no operational plan to avert a similar escape attempt. Speaking at the trial of the helicopter pilot and four prison guards charged with negligence for failing to stop the breakout, Leonidas Karabekios said, «There is no plan, we just ring the alarm and use our walkie-talkies to pass round the word that a helicopter has appeared.» He also told the court that prison authorities had received an anonymous telephone call a few days before the escape warning that it would happen. Guards subsequently checked the two convicts’ cells but found nothing suspicious, he said. Karabekios said that security had been beefed up in the jail’s C Wing where serial robber Vassilis Palaiocostas and his Albanian accomplice Alket Rizai had been held in separate cells, though he noted that most convicts kept «improvised» knives. According to Karabekios, the four guards on trial should not be held responsible as they were acting «in the absence of any plan and sufficient training.» Meanwhile Dimitris Tsovolas, one of the defense lawyers for the guards, resigned, citing «doctored charges» and «intervention in the workings of justice.» Police yesterday conducted fresh searches of the cells of inmates suspected of some involvement in planning the escape. These cells included that of Vassilis Stefanakos, one of the two people charged as an accomplice in the pair’s first helicopter breakout in June 2006.