Wife of officer shot in Zoniana drops suit

As the trial of 42 suspects from the Cretan village of Zoniana resumed yesterday at an Athens appeals court, the wife of Stathis Lazaridis, the special guard who was seriously wounded in a shower of bullets when police raided the village in November 2007, said she was dropping her civil suit against the perpetrators. Lazaridis’s wife, who did not specify her reasons for withdrawing as a civil plaintiff in the trial but is believed to have been intimidated, said she would seek compensation for her family’s ordeal. «I cannot tell you the reasons but there are many,» Maria Lazaridou told the court. «If Stathis was here he could take the decisions. I just want him to get better and for the perpetrators to be punished,» she added. Lazaridis has been left paralyzed from the neck down after being shot in the head during the botched police raid in November 2007. The injured officer’s wife insisted that her action «would not have any essential impact on the trial.» During the second day of the trial of the 42 suspects, who face charges ranging from attempted murder and drug dealing to money laundering, the court heard testimony from the head of the police’s criminal analysis unit, Iosif Kambanakis, who had been responsible for analyzing the telephone calls made before, during and after raids on bank ATMs in the broader Rethymnon prefecture in 2007. According to Kambanakis, whose testimony is to continue tomorrow, mobile telephone calls had been made in the broader area between some of the defendants around the time of the robberies in Hania and Rethymnon. Outside the courthouse after the proceedings yesterday, relatives of some of the younger defendants claimed that the latter were scapegoats for the real criminals of Zoniana. The uncle of one defendant said: «Those beasts with the moustaches and the big fists are roaming free. For these kids, jail would be a disaster.»

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