Greek Supreme Court Upholds Bulgarian Pilot Guilty Verdict

Crime | July 17, 2013, Wednesday // 20:23|  views

One of the leading Bulgarian pilots, Yanko Stoimenov, was found guilty by the Greek Supreme Court. File photo

The Supreme Court in Athens has upheld the guilty verdicts for the defendants in the case of the Helios Airways crash in 2005, according to unofficial information.

One of the top Bulgarian pilots, Yanko Stoimenov, is among the defendants.

Initially, the three defendants were sentenced to 122 years in prison, but then because of their clean criminal records the appeals court reduced the sentence to 10 years with a right of buying their redemption.

In April 2012, a Greek court declared four former employees of low-cost Cypriot airline Helios Airways, including Bulgarian Stoimenov, guilty for an air crash that killed all 121 people on board.

On August 14, 2005, a Boeing 737-300 flying on a flight from Larnaka to Prague via Athens crashed north of the Greek capital, killing all of the passengers and the members of the crew.

The crash was the worst accident on record for Greece and Cyprus.

The Court of first instance in Athens declared Helios' managing director Demetris Pantazis, flight operations manager Giorgos Kikkides, chief pilot Yanko Stoimenov and chief engineer Alan Irwin guilty of negligent manslaughter.

In February 2013 Irwin, who was the only one directly involved in the crash, as he led the team of technicians who inspected the plane before the flight, was declared not guilty by the Athens court.

In December 2011, a Cypriot court ruled that the State prosecutors had not proved their case for manslaughter and acquitted all defendants.

The magistrates in Nicosia did not accept the claims that the crew had been incompetent and that the company had failed to ensure the safety and security of the passengers.

At the beginning of January, the Union of Transport Syndicates organized a protest rally in front of the Greek Embassy against the verdict.

According to the Syndicates, the verdict is unjust and the pilot is not guilty on any of the charges against him. With the rally, the Union also voiced opposition against the practice to criminalize transport accidents. They wanted to have a new probe in Stoimenov's case, conducted by aviation experts, not magistrates, for the benefit not only of the defendant, but international aviation safety.

The Athens Court failed to address the above demands.

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Tags: Nicosia, Appellate, appeals, rule, verdict, Cyprus, Yanko Stoimenov, air carrier, pilot, greece, Union of Transport Syndicates, protest rally, Greek, embassy, Foreign Ministry, Nicosia, Appellate, appeals, rule, verdict, Supreme


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