Arson charges for Attica fires

An Athens prosecutor yesterday brought arson charges against a 59-year-old landowner from Grammatiko, northeastern Attica, who is alleged to have started a catastrophic forest fire last month that burnt hundreds of hectares of farmland. The 59-year-old has denied that the fire broke out on a plot of land belonging to him, claiming the blaze started in another area. In his testimony before an investigating magistrate last week, he claimed that 20 of his fellow villagers could support his alibi. But an investigation into the causes of the blaze reportedly indicates that the fire broke out on his patch of land after an attempt to burn a wasps’ nest there got out of control. The 59-year-old, who owns a large plot in the area of Sesi, near the site of a planned landfill in Grammatiko, is alleged to have participated in a residents’ initiative opposing the construction of the facility. He faces a five-year prison sentence if convicted.