Greek govt accused of manipulating train tragedy evidence


Greek opposition parties have accused the government of manipulating evidence to influence opinion over the country’s worst train tragedy and vowed to submit a no-confidence vote.

Citing a newspaper report, the three leading center-left and leftist parties said the government “handed out” to friendly media edited recordings of train staff, to bolster a narrative that human error caused the collision that killed 57 people in February 2023.

“There is only one way: A censure motion,” Nikos Androulakis, head of the socialist PASOK party, said in a statement.

The main opposition Syriza party called on Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to resign, and the small leftist New Left party said it would support the censure motion.

The Communist KKE party and the nationalist Hellenic Solution party later said they would back the move.

The disaster occurred when a freight train and a passenger train with 350 people aboard, mostly students, collided near a tunnel outside the central city of Larissa shortly before midnight.

The To Vima weekly on March 24 said leaked recordings of train staff on the night of the accident, played by media at the time, had been edited to suggest human error was exclusively to blame.

In particular, one clip that saw extensive use at the time had the station master giving the go-ahead to an unnamed train driver.

To Vima said the discussion was with a driver on an earlier train not involved the accident, but his name was purposely removed to create the impression that it was with the driver on one of the trains that collided.

Who carried out the alleged manipulation is unclear, but To Vima suggested that unauthorized persons had improperly acquired access to material that should have been limited to investigators.

Mitsotakis himself drew fire last year after saying “everything” showed that the accident was caused by “human error” even as the investigation got underway.

The government on March 24 dismissed the report as “baseless” and said it welcomed the no-confidence vote in parliament.

“This vulgar attempt will fail,” government spokesman Pavlos Marinakis said in a statement.__Daily Hurriyet