The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Convict famous for his prison escapes in Greece doesn't make it out this time

  • Print

ATHENS, Greece - His first two prison escapes in Greece were spectacular and successful, aboard helicopters chartered by accomplices. But when Albanian inmate Alket Rizaj tried to break out of another lockup — this time by taking hostages — his gamble just didn't pay off.

After a 24-hour standoff Rizaj, a convicted contract killer, surrendered to police at Malandrino prison in central Greece on Sunday, and his captives were freed or escaped unharmed, Justice Ministry officials said on condition of anonymity in keeping with regulations.

The drama began around 9 p.m. on Saturday, when Rizaj and two fellow Albanian prisoners claimed to be heavily armed and demanded a getaway car from the prison, the officials said. But in the end they only turned out to have two handmade knives.

"This time I did not make it," the officials quoting Rizaj as telling police when he gave up.

Rizaj is famous for having escaped twice from the maximum-security Korydallos prison with his fellow inmate Vassilis Paleokostas in Athens, in 2006 and 2009.

Both times helicopters chartered by accomplices hovered over the prison's courtyard while the escapees climbed up to freedom on rope ladders. Rizaj was eventually recaptured, but Paleokostas remains at large.

Rizaj's latest escape attempt prompted the Public Order ministry to dispatch dozens of riot police to Malandrino prison. A prosecutor and two of Rizaj's lawyers also turned up to implore the three inmates to release the six guards they had taken hostage.

During those talks, police used a crane to free six other prison employees from a higher floor in the lockup, the officials said.

On Sunday morning, police gave up on the talks and fired smoke bombs and stun grenades into the area of the prison where the three Albanians were holding their captives, and one of the hostages escaped, the officials said.

After more negotiations, Rizaj and his accomplices surrendered and freed their five remaining prison workers.

On Sunday night, Greece's Ministry of Justice released a statement congratulating everyone who had taken part in a "bloodless operation" to free hostages at the prison. The ministry gave no details about Rizaj's attempted escape.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Bowman talks "job number one" in News Café interview

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Marc Gallant / Winnipeg Free Press. Local- WINTER FILE. Snowboarder at Stony Mountain Ski Hill. November 14, 2006.
  • Winnipeg’s best friend the dragon fly takes a break at English Gardens in Assiniboine Park Wednesday- A dragon fly can eat  food equal to its own weight in 30 minutes-Standup photo- June 13, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you support Pimicikamak First Nation's protest against Manitoba Hydro?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google