Time to regain control

Six months have passed since an 11-year-old boy, Alex Meshivili, disappeared in the town of Veria, northern Greece, yet the authorities have still not shed light on many of the aspects of this terrible tragedy. So far, the only certain fact is that a child is missing – the police have told his mother that the official view is that her son is dead and that, according to the prosecutor’s brief, he was killed by five of his peers. Yet two major questions remain unanswered: the whereabouts of the boy’s body and the circumstances surrounding the crime. The investigation appears to have stalled and the police have much to answer for. Before the body has even been found, they leaked evidence to a television station, thereby losing the advantage of secrecy and making a general mess of things. Now the situation has got completely out of hand and events are being dictated by television cameras, «investigators» and lawyers ready to cash in on the case by putting in their own two cents’ worth. We have seen police officers and firemen searching gorges for Alex because someone made an «astonishing revelation» to a TV station, Athenian lawyers coming to blows with local residents, and private detectives airing all kinds of scenarios and «evidence.» The case even assumed political dimensions yesterday, in view of the imminent local elections. Alex’s disappearance has been turned into a farce that is an insult to the media and legal culture, provoking sadness and disgust. High ratings and personal gain for some of the players are no excuse. It is time for the judiciary – to whom the police have passed the buck – to shed light on this tragedy, if there is still time. Otherwise the tragedy in Veria could degenerate into a parody.

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