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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 May 2006, 22:40 GMT 23:40 UK
Ruling backs Greek abduction case
Pakistani claimants and lawyer Frangiskos Ragoussis (C)
Claimants' lawyer (C) Frangiskos Ragoussis at an earlier conference
A Greek prosecutor has backed claims by a group of Pakistani men that they were abducted by intelligence agents in the wake of the London bombings last July.

He recommended charges against at least two Greek officers but allegations of British MI6 involvement are unlikely to be pursued due to diplomatic immunity.

The Pakistanis say their captors spoke English, blindfolded them and interrogated them for several days.

Fifty-six people, including four bombers, were killed on 7 July, 2005.

Judge's role

The governments of Greece, Pakistan and Britain have denied any involvement in the abduction of the 28 Pakistanis, who live in Greece.

The Supreme Court prosecutor, Nikos Degaitis, was announcing the conclusions of an inquiry that he launched into the allegations at the beginning of the year.

The way has opened for us to bring all these despicable people to justice
Frangiskos Ragoussis
Lawyer

Mr Degaitis had identified two Greek intelligence officers but has not named them.

Greek law permits charges to be brought against "unknown persons".

The examining judge must decide whether specific individuals are charged or the case is archived.

A lawyer for the Pakistani men praised the prosecutor's decision.

Frangiskos Ragoussis said: "It was the best possible development for us, as the charges confirm that the criminal act of abduction was committed.

"The way has opened for us to bring all these despicable people to justice."

The BBC's Richard Galpin in Athens says the prosecutor's ruling, making it likely that formal charges are brought against the two Greeks, is a significant step forward for the Pakistani men.

However, our correspondent says it seems for the moment that there will be no further investigation into the alleged involvement of the MI6 station chief in Athens because he has diplomatic immunity.

He was called back to London when a Greek newspaper named him and claimed he was present during the interrogation.

All the governments denied involvement. Greek public order minister at the time, George Voulgarakis, said: "No Greek government would resort to the use of masks or hoods or any other James Bond-style methods."

Now groups campaigning on behalf of the Pakistanis have renewed their calls for Mr Voulgarakis - now culture minister - to resign.


SEE ALSO:
Call for MI6 'abduction' inquiry
29 Dec 05 |  UK Politics


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