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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Bomb targets Greek minister's residence

ISN SECURITY WATCH (Tuesday, 30 May 2006: 16.10 CET) - A bomb exploded near the Athens residence of Greece's culture minister George Voulgarakis on Tuesday. The explosion happened days after Pakistani immigrants filed charges against him for abduction.

No one was injured in the blast and the minister was not home at the time, though the residence and several vehicles were damaged, according to news reports.

The bomb was placed under a car about 70 meters from his house and detonated by a timer.

No one has claimed responsibility for the blast.

On 12 May, Greek prosecutors filed charges against unidentified suspects in connection with the alleged abduction of 28 Pakistanis in Greece in the wake of the July 2005 bombings in London.

A week later, three of the Pakistani immigrants who claim they had been kidnapped filed a criminal lawsuit against Voulgarakis, who was the public order minister at the time of the alleged abductions.

The three men have accused Voulgarakis of instigating the alleged abductions, shielding guilty parties, and lying in parliament about the incident.

Prosecutor Nikos Degaitis filed criminal abduction charges against "unknown persons" for illegally kidnapping at least ten Pakistanis last July in the wake of the attacks on London's transportation system last July.

Fifteen of the 28 Pakistani men who claim they were abducted have filed official complaints, according to news reports.

Voulgarakis called the matter a "provocation or farce".

The prosecution has not been able to find evidence that foreign intelligence agents were involved in the alleged abductions, and a British secret agent who is alleged to have participated in the kidnappings may not be questioned because of diplomatic immunity.

Britain's MI6 station chief in Athens was recalled to London after a Greek newspaper named him as one of the alleged kidnappers and claimed that he had been present during the alleged interrogation of the Pakistani men.
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