Greece probes police 'beatings' as altered mug shots emerge

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
The digitally altered mug shots made the suspects' injuries appear less severe

A prosecutor in Greece has ordered an inquiry into whether four suspected bank robbers were beaten in police custody, after complaints by relatives.

The move also comes after the police issued the men's mug shots that were digitally altered to make their injuries appear less severe.

Police say this was needed to make the men more recognisable to the public to help obtain further information.

They also say the suspects were injured while resisting arrest.

Human rights groups have in the past accused Greek police of heavy-handed tactics - a claim they deny.

'Armed terrorists'

The four men, all in their 20s, were arrested near the northern town of Kozani on Friday.

Photos published in the local media later showed them bruised and bleeding during their transfer from the town's police station.

But on the mug shots released by the police over the weekend the suspects had fewer injuries and their bruises were covered.

In a televised interview, Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias admitted that the pictures had been altered.

But he said this was done because the police were seeking more information on the suspects, adding that four other men were being sought in the case.

Mr Dendias also described the suspects as "heavily armed terrorists".

Two of the men are believed to have links with Conspiracy of Fire Nuclei - a radical group that claims to be behind parcel bombs sent in recent years to a European leaders.

The minister also stressed that he would punish any police officer found responsible for abuse.

More on this story