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Greek prosecutor backs Pakistani kidnap accusations

Written by: Staff
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ATHENS, May 12 (Reuters) A Greek prosecutor has backed allegations by Pakistani immigrants that they were abducted during investigations into last year's London suicide bombings, paving the way for a full probe and possible court case.

Late yesterday, the prosecutor ordered two senior Greek intelligence officers to face an investigating magistrate for questioning and filed charges against ''unknown individuals within state agencies'' over the kidnap of at least 10 Pakistanis.

The prosecutor stopped short of identifying individuals or specific agencies in his charges, but his decision, which triggers a full investigation by the investigating magistrate, is a major embarrassment for the government.

The government denied any involvement or knowledge of the alleged abductions, calling the accusations ''a farce or a provocation''.

It said today it would await the results of the investigation before making any comment.

In the London attacks last July, four British Islamist militants detonated bombs concealed in rucksacks on three underground trains and a bus, killing 52 and injuring hundreds.

George Voulgarakis, public order minister at the time, told a parliamentary inquiry in January that British intelligence services had requested Greek police help to investigate possible al Qaeda sympathisers after the attacks.

But he denied police had kidnapped the Pakistanis from their homes and interrogated them for days, despite their graphic testimonies.

''We feel we have won a major battle. We have spoken the truth and the prosecutor has believed us,'' Jawied Aslam, head of Greece's Pakistani community, told reporters today, flanked by several of the 28 who say they were kidnapped.

One the men, Pakistani Raja Rafakat, said: ''I was taken from my home, beaten, covered up, interrogated and released days later.

''I feel vindicated today but I am still afraid because there are threats from many sides for us to reverse our testimony and say that nothing happened.'' The group has filed a lawsuit against Greek and British security services months ago saying they were kidnapped, tortured and interrogated in secret locations about the bombings and their connections to Britain for up to seven days.

REUTERS PR BD2030

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