The trial for the torching of Marfin Bank and the deaths of three people trapped inside began before an Athens Criminal Court on Monday.
The tragic incident occurred during a massive anti-austerity protest rally held against the first Greek bailout in May 2010, when protestors in the crowd set fire to a branch of Marfin Bank while people were working inside. The fire spread quickly and three employees, including a pregnant woman, were unable to get out in time.
On trial are Theodoros Sipsas, who faces charges for the torching of the bank and the three deaths, and Pavlos Andreev, who has been charged with the bombing of the Ianos bookshop. Both deny the charges against them.
The trial began with 37 of the 80 witnesses absent. Witnesses that took the stand included family and colleagues of the slain Marfin employees, as well as people who were on the scene. None of them were able to definitively identify the accused as the individuals that set fire to the bank.
One witness declined to elaborate on the events of that day, citing fears for his or her safety and referring to a “dialogue that took place at the time, with certain people.” The same witness did not recognize the accused.
Other witnesses said that the bank was attacked by three or more individuals, who were “lithe and quick and not especially heavy.” Another witness said he had heard someone shouting “burn them, burn them,” but did not see who said it.
Another witness, Anastasia Christaki, said the culprits appeared to her to be small and slim youths, rather than men, and that they had their faces covered.
The trial will continue on October 14.