TEMPI (Greece), March 21 — Greek opposition parties yesterday accused the government of trying to cover up the nation’s worst train accident after a four-month parliament investigation cleared senior politicians.

Government lawmakers earlier in March approved their own separate verdict, blaming human error for the collision that killed 57 people in February 2023.

Sokratis Famellos, parliament speaker for the main opposition Syriza party, said there had been a “concerted, organised cover-up attempt” by the ruling conservative party.

The disaster occurred when a freight train and a passenger train with 350 aboard — mostly students — collided near a tunnel outside the central city of Larissa shortly before midnight.


At the time, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis promised that the tragedy would be “fully” investigated.

He was absent from Wednesday’s debate.

Opposition lawmakers have long complained that the parliament investigation, launched in November separately from an ongoing judicial probe, had failed to question key witnesses.


Over 30 railway employees and officials face charges over the February 28, 2023 disaster, with a trial expected to start in June.

The prime minister drew criticism last year after stating that “everything” showed that the accident was caused by “human error” even as the investigation got underway.

He later apologised for that comment and said he would improve Greece’s railway safety. He was re-elected three months later.

Greece’s 2,552-kilometre rail network has for decades been plagued by mismanagement, poor maintenance and obsolete equipment.

The European Union’s chief prosecutor last week lamented that Greece’s constitutional provisions on ministerial immunity had not allowed a full investigation.

“In accordance with the stipulations of the Greek constitution, we have not been able to conduct the investigation against former ministers who are possible suspects in the case,” Laura Kovesi, who heads the European public prosecutor’s office, told Greek daily Kathimerini in an interview.

Relatives have appointed their own experts to the case, arguing that the official investigators wasted time and overlooked vital evidence.

Maria Karystianou, who lost her 19-year-old daughter in the accident, this week told the European Parliament the government had “ordered” a cover-up within a day of the accident.

More than 1.3 million people have signed a petition launched by Karystianou, demanding reforms to make it easier to prosecute ministers and lawmakers accused of crimes. — AFP