20 charged over Mati wildfires that killed 100 people


Greek authorities have charged 20 people with negligence in connection with the deadly wildfires that killed 100 people in the seaside town of Mati in July of 2018.

Court officials said the suspects include a regional director, mayors, government officials, and police and fire brigade officers.

Among the 20 charged on Tuesday, was a 65-year-old resident of an area near Mati, who had allegedly been burning garden waste on open ground from which the fire started.

The charges include manslaughter, causing grievous bodily harm through negligence and arson through negligence. They carry a maximum five-year prison sentence.

Prosecutors Elias Zagoreos, Nikos Fistopoulos, and Costas Spiropoulos filed misdemeanour charges, per case, for arson as a result of negligence; manslaughter by continuing negligence; and continuing bodily harm by negligence. These carry sentences of up to five years in jail, and exceptionally up to ten years.

There was no liability for another four persons, whose case files were archived.
The prosecutors, who found liability both before the deadly fire and during its occurrence, noted among other issues lack of coordination and a series of mistakes and omissions in managing the fire by all officials and agencies named above.

The prosecutors took depositions from nearly 350 relatives of fire victims, and poured over conversation logs such as between the police and Fire Brigade, as well as examining videos from the event. Their files also contain specialist reports and on-site investigations, along with suits filed by victims’ relatives.

In October 2018 they summoned 21 people for explanations and found 20 of these liable to prosecution.

The case file will now be turned over to an investigating magistrate.

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