Horrifying new testimony at the Eye trial: ‘I thought it was a burnt shower curtain, but it was my mother’

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Anger at the non-existence of organized movements of the state apparatus, but also anger at the then government, emerged even today from the testimonies of those who lost their loved ones

Scenes of absolute confusion while the flames licked houses in Eastern Attica, the witnesses in the trial for the Eye described today.

The residents’ ignorance of the flames that were rapidly approaching the area was so great that, as a witness testified, the first burn victim who went to the Nea Makri Health Center was asked by the doctors if he was burned by boiling water.

Anger at the non-existence of organized movements of the state apparatus, but also anger at the then government, emerged even today from the testimonies of those who lost their loved ones. “They were making fun of us that there are no dead people. At 19.30 there was a person who had seen 30 people burned,” said a witness.

“I couldn’t understand that what I thought was a burnt shower curtain, was my mother,” testified Nikos Yiannopoulos, who, angry, reported that he received the burnt body “in a supermarket bag”.

According to the witness, the accused mayor of the area reassured the people in Mati saying that the fire will go north towards Dionysos.

“Around five to ten my wife took me in a panic. ‘Come home quickly, I think we’re going to have a problem with the fire’. Arriving at 17.20 at the traffic lights of Attica Odos, I hear Mr. Bournos saying verbatim that there is a fire in Daou and the Lyrio Foundation is being evacuated and that if he escapes he will go north to Dionysos.

I took my wife and told her and I also took my mother and she was fine. The street is empty and the people are calm…I get home and see a wife screaming. ‘Nico we are leaving!’. I tell her to calm down, someone else’s fire is going. At 6 o’clock the power goes out. I had to get the car out of the garage. We took two cars and were going to Agia Marina.

I go out to Marathon, there was a policeman who wanted to send me to Mati. I ignored him cursing and left. I got my mother ‘I’m coming to get you don’t worry’.

It was the last conversation with my mother… Around 20.30 when the wind had died down I went to Mati. I left the car just before the hotels. I don’t know what hell is like, but what I saw was 10 times worse…” said Mr. Yiannopoulos, who found his mother’s house in Mati burnt down, not knowing that she was also in the ashes.

“I tell my wife with what I saw in Mati, there are dead, there has been destruction. He says ‘what are you talking about?’ And he shows me the video with the prime minister and the regional governor. They were kidding us that there are no dead people. At 19.30 there was a person who had seen 30 people burned,” said the witness.

THE Marina Lampridouwho lost her father, testified that they heard about the fire in Kinetta and then about the fire in Dau, but they were calm that they were not in danger.

“We didn’t think it could reach us. We were scared when the power went out. I was in the house with my mother and I had a panic attack. My father was outside. When at some point he entered the house, he shouted “I’m burning, I’m in pain”. By the time we were leaving, the fire had entered the plot…leaving the house there were burns everywhere. We didn’t hear anything until the first entrance of Vuzha. We then found a police car and my father was shouting “I’m burning, I’m in pain”. We arrived in Nea Makri at the Health Center. They had no idea about fire. In fact, they asked him if he was burned by a pot of water! Then people started arriving. My dad ended up on July 26 in the KAT.”

The witness’s sister, Vasiliki Lampridou, described that she, her husband and their child were saved, although they were trapped in Mati in the traffic jam. “My husband at 17.45, says to me ‘let’s get out of the house because we’re going to burn alive.’ From the living room window I could see my parents’ house. I couldn’t see a house anymore, only thick black smoke. We took the child and went out. It was getting hot. The power had gone out. I tried to call my parents but nothing. I got in the car with the child, my husband in his. I was driving like crazy with an 8 month old and I didn’t know where I was going. We arrived in Mati, the traffic jam started, but we were one of the lucky ones.”

Referring to her father, the witness said: “They took him to the KAT and put him in a coma so he wouldn’t feel the pain. It was about 67% burnt inside and out. We learned about our father’s death from the news. We were not informed in time by the hospital. He had been burned by the heat wave and thought he needed to go into the pool to calm down, the doctors told us that was wrong, of course.”

The court, with a similar prosecutorial proposal, rejected a request for the personal appearance of the defendants submitted by a defense attorney. The lawyer said that the defendants should be in court, describing their absence from the courtroom as “institutional indecency”.

RES-EMP

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