The request of the prosecutor’s office to lift the parliamentary immunity of SYRIZA MP Renas Douros was unanimously accepted by the plenary session. According to the application of the public prosecutor’s office forwarded to the Parliament, Rena Dourou is among the defendants, before the three-member misdemeanor court of Athens, who are charged with the criminal acts of negligent homicide by serial omission and bodily harm by negligence by serial omission , which took place on 23.7.2018 in Neo Voutza, Mati and Kokkino Limanaki of Eastern Attica, a period during which Mrs. Dourou held the status of Regional Governor of Attica.

The prosecutor’s request was forwarded to Parliament last Friday. The hearing process has been suspended since the beginning of the month, immediately after the election of Mrs. Douros to the parliamentary office, and its resumption is scheduled for July 24. If the Parliament therefore delayed introducing for discussion and voting the application for lifting immunity, it was possible that the court would be obliged to adjourn again. For this reason, the President of the Parliament decided to implement the procedure of directly introducing the case to the plenary session.

In the debate that preceded the Plenary, the special rapporteur of the ND Giorgos Georgantas pointed out that the Plenary does not get into the essence of the case and what the Parliament decides is whether the alleged offense is related to the political activity or the exercise of the duties of a deputy or not. He also pointed out that according to the Constitution and the Rules of Procedure, permission to waive parliamentary immunity is mandatory if the prosecutor’s request concerns an offense that is not related to the performance of duties or the political activity of the deputy. Mr. Georgandas also said that the Parliament’s mission is to help the justice process this case as quickly as possible. However, the ND MP stated that the procedure being followed today, a procedure for directly discussing the issue in plenary instead of preceding the recommendation of the Ethics Committee, is also due to Rena Dourou herself who from the first moment not only requested the lifting of her immunity but also the acceleration of the foreseen parliamentary procedure.

The special rapporteur of SYRIZA Giorgos Gavrilos said that Rena Dourou, with absolute empathy, with respect for justice, has many times emphasized her will to speed up the procedures of the specific trial and without further delay to continue the process that the surviving victims and the families of the people who lost their lives. However, Mr. Gavrilos expressed the opinion that the case file does not show any substantiation of the accusations against Mrs. Douros. “Both Rena Dourou and SYRIZA state unequivocally that we wish the immediate continuation of the judicial process,” said Mr. Gavrilos.

SYRIZA MP Rena Dourou herself underlined that “the national tragedy in Mati is a national shame and signals the overall failure of the political system”. He also underlined that the materially competent Security Corps for the suppression of forest fires, rescuing citizens is also being checked for how well they performed their duties. “However, it is an objective political responsibility, which goes far back in time, the fact that the state did not modernize the Fire Department to have the ability to deal with a fire, even in exceptional and rarely adverse conditions, such as in Mati,” said Rena Dourou, who emphasized that “from the institutional framework, it follows that the Fire Brigade has the responsibility of planning, directing and coordinating the entire operation of extinguishing forest fires and rescuing citizens” and all other agencies act in a supportive manner by responding to what what does the Fire Department, who has the general command, ask them to do? “It is my deep conviction that justice must treat political figures without discrimination, just like all citizens. Especially if the political figure is the head of a collective entity that is involved in a case with an unfair result for the citizens, there is only one way to clarify the case, by natural judges”, said Rena Dourou.

The parliamentary representative of the Hellenic Solution, Konstantinos Chitas, reminded that his party has submitted a request for the formation of an inquiry committee for Mati, as it has also requested an inquiry for Tempi. In this climate, he called on the parties to support both requests.

The president of the KO of SYRIZA, Sokratis Famellos, pointed out that both at Rena Douro’s request and with his clear position, SYRIZA itself proposes and supports her request to lift her parliamentary immunity. “This is done out of respect for justice. We want justice to be speeded up and this is not just about this case. It also applies to this case. Faced with the tragedy and suffering of those days, the democratic Greek state must give answers to the citizens”, said Sokratis Famellos and made it clear that SYRIZA will do the same in the future. The President of the KO of SYRIZA also said that his party’s current stance on the request to lift immunity for Ms. Douro also stems from respect for the parliamentary process. Especially regarding the parliamentary process, however, Mr. Famellos hastened to point out that SYRIZA, respecting the parliamentary process, supported the election of the Speaker of the Parliament and while this happened, he has not yet received an answer to the fact that the SYRIZA KO in the plenary hall it is divided into three (s.s. spatial planning of seats) and for the fact that the “European acquis” has not been respected in the distribution of parliamentary groups in the seats.

“Crime in Mati involves political figures, not only at the level of self-government. There were top central government and prime ministerial responsibilities that were only verbally assumed,” said Zoe Konstantopoulou, head of Freedom of Navigation, and recalled the statement of the then prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, that he took full responsibility but “after that, nothing happened.” He also denounced that there were extreme interventions in the work of justice “from the role played by the prosecutor of the Supreme Court, Mr. Dimitriou, who tried to interrupt the preliminary examination and suspend the summoning of suspects”, “to the role played by the government appointed , General Inspector of Public Administration Mrs. Papaspyrou, who was also involved in the suspension of the investigations”, “in the role played by the then Minister of Justice, Mr. Kontonis, ordering that instead of checking the political government, official, self-administrative responsibilities, the victims should be checked for arbitrary”. Zoi Konstantopoulou underlined that the dimension of the crime in Mati is criminal.

The parliamentary representative of the Spartans, Charalambos Katsivardas, said that the functionally independent judiciary must rule not only on the “objective responsibility of politicians” but mainly on the victims who did not find the state by their side and expect justice.

PASOK’s parliamentary representative, Michalis Katrinis, said that the judiciary is competent to judge that the regional governor at the time, “the senior administrative factor who convened, based on the context at the time, the coordinating body for civil protection, did not attend”. Justice is the one who will judge that this body, while it had received a recommendation from the Fire Department, did not make any decision and let the situation unfold, said the parliamentary representative of PASOK and emphasized that the whole of Greek society is asking for the award to be speeded up of justice.

The parliamentary representative of the KKE, Yiannis Giokas, underlined, regarding the procedure, that “as an exception, today it is accepted that in this particular case the ethics committee of the Parliament was bypassed and such a procedure will not be tolerated again from now on”. In relation to the case, Mr. Giokas said that the criminal responsibilities will be sought by the courts, but the political governmental responsibilities are eternal and given both in terms of the causes that caused the disaster in Mati and in terms of its management and consequences of destruction.

ND parliamentary representative Thanos Pleuris, although he pointed out that at this stage the debate in the Plenary does not concern the essence of the case in Mati, he commented on what the special rapporteur of SYRIZA, Mr. Gavrilos, had said earlier. “I will not ignore the report of the special rapporteur of SYRIZA who stated that ‘for those who have legal knowledge, the case is not correct’. SYRIZA took a position on the open case in the judiciary”, said Thanos Pleuris and added that obviously there is a presumption of innocence of Mrs. Douros, but in this case “a preliminary examination was carried out and in order to summon someone as a suspect, suspicions are needed. Subsequently, a criminal prosecution was instituted, and in order to institute a criminal prosecution, evidence is needed. Then there was the will of the Board of Appeals which needs sufficient evidence to refer someone to the audience.”