NEWS

In Brief

COURT DATE

Magistrate calls on the main ‘Gang of 16’ suspects to testify Three of the key suspects in the so-called «Gang of 16» were yesterday summoned to testify before a magistrate investigating the alleged widespread criminal network. The gang’s alleged mastermind, Panayiotis Vlastos, criminal underworld figure Vassilis Stefanakos and fellow convict Yiannis Skaftouros were invited to face the magistrate tomorrow. The three men have been accused of being members of a criminal gang which is alleged to have kidnapped ferry tycoon Pericles Panagopoulos and carried out contract killings. All three are expected to ask for a few days more to prepare their defenses. ORGANS DONATED Lives saved in Greece, abroad The organs of a 19-year-old youth from Ioannina yesterday were flown to two transplant patients in Greece and another two elsewhere in Europe, doctors at the northwestern city’s university hospital said. The parents of the 19-year-old, who was badly hurt in a road accident, approved the donation of their son’s organs after doctors said he would not survive his injuries. The donor’s heart was flown to a patient in Italy, his lungs to Austria, his liver and one kidney to Thessaloniki and the second kidney to Athens. Zakynthos fire National Intelligence Service officers are in Zakynthos to investigate the cause of a forest fire last Sunday that left more than 50 bathers trapped on Dafni Beach, where they were rescued by the coast guard. Police on the island suspect that the fire was a case of arson and is likely to have been linked to a dispute between some locals and the organization that manages a national marine park on Zakynthos. Student detained A 20-year-old British student of Cypriot origin yesterday was jailed pending his trial for the manslaughter of a Briton on the Ionian island of Zakynthos after a Greek court refused his request for bail. Andrew Symeou, who was extradited to Greece last week, has been charged with the manslaughter of 18-year-old Jonathon Hiles in a Zakynthos nightclub in May 2007. Symeou’s request for bail was refused as he has no permanent address in Greece, the BBC quoted campaign group Fair Trials International as saying. Symeou claims that the evidence against him has been fabricated. Pot farm Police in the Peloponnesian municipality of Sparta said yesterday that they had detained two Greeks and two Albanians believed to have been involved in cultivating a cannabis farm near the foot of Mount Taygettus, comprising some 1,300 fully grown cannabis trees up to 3 meters high, that police had found and uprooted last year. Police in Attica last week raided a massive cannabis farm located on forestland near Mount Parnitha, north of Athens. They have yet to trace the farmers. Risky import A 37-year-old Nigerian national faced an Athens prosecutor yesterday on drug charges after allegedly trying to bring more than half a kilo of cocaine into the country in his stomach. The 37-year-old, who arrived at Athens International Airport on a flight from Brussels on Sunday, had swallowed 49 packages containing the drugs, according to police. The suspect was transferred to a hospital where the drugs were removed and confiscated.