Eye trial: Shocking new evidence – ‘My son was floating face down, I was going to go with him or leave him to save my daughter’

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“”Are we going to die too?”. He didn’t answer me… I knew that if my mother left I would leave too” says the witness who saw her brother leave her life in front of her eyes

Another tragic moment of hers unimaginable tragedy in the Eye described a woman who, along with her mother, found themselves in the middle of the sea to be saved from the fire, were forced to leave the lifeless bodies of their brother and their friend in order to save themselves.

Mrs. Vasiliki Miha told how her 23-year-old brother, Viktoras, disappeared he couldn’t stand it in the sea where they found themselves to escape the flames that had engulfed them. Sobbing, the witness described that she, her brother, their mother and her friend Emilia Androulidakis left the house by car that afternoon when they were surprised by the fire. “There was a state of panic out of nowhere and suddenly” said the woman, mentioning that they were stuck in the vehicle. To leave they left the car and went to the sea who was beside them, with the fire following themi. “If we had delayed leaving two or three minutes, the fire would have overtaken us and we would have burned in the car. There was no one to alert us… To ring a bell… If one had alerted someone we would have left and things would have been completely different… There was no oxygen. The burning pine cones were falling on us. And in order not to burn, we ran into the water…”, he noted.

As Mrs. Micha testified, after a long time in the watertheir friend didn’t make it and died. “My mother thought it was right to keep her by her side because we thought someone would come to collect us. She wanted to take her to her children,” she said and added that after that her brother started complaining of leg cramps and saying that he wouldn’t make it. “As soon as he realized that Emilia was not alive, he panicked. After two waves, Victor… is gone. He was turned upside down. My mom, I don’t know how she stood and dealt with it. He turned him, saw his face and it was black. I couldn’t believe he was gone. He told me “Viktor is no longer alive”. I was waiting for someone to come. I was holding him. He told me “if you keep holding him you will leave too, I will leave too”. So that we don’t get separated we tied a garment around our wrists. We only had each other and we were looking at the sky waiting for someone to throw us a life preserver,” she said in court, where not the slightest sound could be heard as the witness tearfully testified. Mrs. Micha, devastated, continued saying that at some point the waves brought the bodies of two women alongside them. “We were shivering from cold and fatigue. I turn around and say to my mom: “Are we going to die too?”. She didn’t answer me… Her face was black… I knew that if my mother left, I would leave too… I wouldn’t make it…”, he testified, adding that at 11 at night, salvation came for them when a boat threw them two life jackets. “At that time I was crying. I didn’t know what to feel. I had left my brother behind. As if I had been cut in two…”, he noted, crying uncontrollably. He also said that the arrival at the port of Rafina was painful as there “we found ourselves at the mercy of God”.

Referring to the painful wait to find her brother, the witness said: “His body was in the sea. What we lived waiting over a phone to tell us where he is, I don’t know… What person deserves such torture? We pray that his body is found. The following Monday we were told that it had been found and an identification was made. We couldn’t see him, say goodbye to him for the last time. We said goodbye to him in a closed coffin. On my brother’s first birthday, my mother had a panic attack because she couldn’t take it.” The witness, sobbing from the anger she felt, noted: “Half an hour away from the Parliament, are we a European country? Where is the state? Aren’t we a little embarrassed? Shame on us for what is happening. Every summer I now fear for my life. I am afraid to live my life in this country because I know there will be no one to protect me… Where were the authorities? Where were they? If there was a war, I’m talking to all of you, what would happen? Our state has fallen like a deck of cards one by one. What happened is criminal. You’ve heard all the accounts of people drowning, burning alive screaming, and all because nobody did their job. If one had done his job, most would have been saved.”

The mother of the witness and mother of the 23-year-old Viktorora, Athina Moutafi, shocked with what she said in her testimony: “I saw Victor floating face down. I turned him on his back and was talking to him and he wasn’t answering. He was black all over. The worst nightmare that you parents can imagine, I saw him in front of me… Either I would go with him or I would let Victor save Vasya… I don’t know how I did it, don’t ask me. Maternal instinct kicked in. I decided to take Vasya and leave. I have no words to describe those moments. There are no words in the Greek dictionary. Finally we continued. I left him and left. I wanted to scream… I wanted to dive into the sea to go and bring him back. I didn’t believe it, but I told her “we’ll make it”. I took off my underwear and we tied our wrists so we wouldn’t get lost.”

Devastated, with tears streaming down her face, the woman continued to move the audience. “A gentleman pushed the corpse of a woman past us so we wouldn’t be scared. He didn’t know that I had left two of my loved ones at sea and buried my soul there. I didn’t care at all that they were going to save me. When the fishing boat came I had the feeling of safety for my child but I didn’t have any feeling of joy… I told Victor’s father “our child is in the sea”… I felt it alone in the sea… I did every day a funeral,” he said, calling for the punishment of those responsible for the shocking disaster. The woman asked the court not to “seem below the circumstances” like “those in charge on the day of the fire”.

Mr. Anastasios Athanasopoulos testified in court about the loss of his mother, who was burned inside the house where she lived, in an apartment building in Mati.

The witness described his attempt to locate his mother in the destruction, looking for her in hotels, in various places and in hospitals: “On the sixth and eighth floors of Evangelismos I found almost the entire apartment building where my mother lived. I found a friend of hers, who told me she was “trying to get away and we lost her somewhere”. I thought it my duty to go home and look for her. That night searching for her I lost seven pounds of fluids, my shoes burned and I was in my socks… I arrived home again. The cops told me that there are many burned… Searching the bags I saw a ring on the hand. At that moment I took a picture of the dead man lying in front of me.” The witness, showing the photo to the judges, noted: “I called my wife and sent her the photo, which was harsh, and as soon as she saw the ring she said it was my grandfather’s and my father’s wedding rings that she had put together in one ring and had given it to my mother as a present. They had found her in the alley that led to the sea.”

Mr. Athanasopoulos mentioned that “beyond the trial, which a state must do to see who is to blame, each of us is doing a trial within himself. Inside me all these years I have been doing a trial. I dare to tell you that today, four years later, I thank God that my mother left like this because her friends who were saved are tortured and will be tortured until they die without being able to come and tell you what they experienced… There was state negligence, the state he didn’t do his job well and that’s why I blame him… The responsibility does not end with negligence… My mother, if she could have left, would have been saved. Who told whom to drive all the cars in Mati? I have to put all this down for my mother’s memory.”

The trial will continue on Thursday, January 19.

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