New body of prison inspectors

In the aftermath of last week’s highly embarrassing escape of a convicted murderer who walked out of Greece’s biggest jail with the apparent aid of a love-struck prison psychologist, the government yesterday unveiled draft legislation aimed to reduce corruption and bolster security in the country’s penitentiaries. Justice Minister Philippos Petsalnikos, who suspended the Korydallos prison governor, the head warder and six of his subordinates after the May 27 escape by US national Peter Sedhom, said a body of eight «employees distinguished for their abilities and moral calibre» would be formed to carry out inspections of Greece’s overpopulated prisons. Other desirable qualities included that the eight «should not have been punished or have disciplinary charges pending regarding offenses that indicate a lack of conscientiousness and understanding of their duties.» Unionists or civil servants who have served in the offices of government members or MPs over the past eight years will also be excluded. The body will be headed by a retired judge or prosecutor. The nine inspectors will be able to visit prisons at will, and without warning «to monitor detention conditions and the extent to which security regulations and rules on prison functioning are implemented.» Meanwhile, the two police escorts of a Jordanian illegal immigrant who escaped on Wednesday from a patrol car in Athens were charged yesterday with negligence. Masut Halil, 54, who was due to be deported for immigration offenses, managed to open the car door and run away when the vehicle was stopped at traffic lights on the way to the Evangelismos hospital, where he was being taken after complaining of severe stomach pains. The charges will be dropped if the two officers manage to recapture Halil within 10 days.

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