ATHENS – A serving police officer has been accused of kidnapping and raping a 19-year-old woman who he forced into prostitution, in a case that has shocked Greece.
The victim escaped the apartment where she was being allegedly imprisoned in Athens on Saturday afternoon. She managed to alert a local cafeteria worker who contacted police and a local women’s rights group.
Dimitris Bougioukos, a 39-year-old cop in the Greek capital, has been charged with a litany of offences, including human trafficking and rape. The woman’s father, who is not being named to protect her identity, is also accused of sexually abusing her over a number of years.
Bougioukos and the woman’s father were arrested Tuesday, and on Wednesday the victim’s lawyers gave a detailed statement on Greek television alleging that she had been repeatedly beaten and denied food when she refused to meet clients, as well as regularly given cocaine as she was trafficked around Athens in the company of a third suspect – an associate of Bougioukos, who was arrested Wednesday.
Also on Wednesday, court records revealed that Bougioukos had forced the victim to sign a contract with a local pornography company “Sirina Entertainment,” which has reportedly admitted to prosecutors that the contract was real but that Bougioukos had deceived the production firm about the woman’s willingness to perform.
Greek police have been criticised for how they treated the victim when she gave a statement accusing a fellow officer of imprisoning her. On Saturday evening, instead of being taken to a hospital for treatment for what her lawyers have described as significant injuries, internal affairs investigators demanded she testify against the officer without her own attorney present, before she could seek treatment from doctors. Eventually legal representatives forced police to give them access to the victim on Sunday morning, and she was treated and released.
The officers’ actions immediately raised questions of a potential police coverup in a country where relations with the police are tense after 18 months of stringent lockdowns, a series of unsolved mafia-linked murders and the assassination of a prominent crime journalist, as well as regular allegations of violence and abuse directed against peaceful demonstrators.
Bougioukos is described by prosecutors as a corrupt police officer with ties to organised crime, which could put additional pressure on the government to explain a series of mafia murders in Greece – at least five this year and as many as 20 in the past five years. So far, however, there have been no significant arrests made in the mafia killings and the April assassination of Giorgos Karaivaz has yet to produce a suspect let alone charges.