Life terms for Greek guerrilla chiefs

A Greek court has handed down life sentences to the mastermind and the chief hitman of the November 17 guerrilla group which killed Greek, British, US and Turkish diplomats in a 27-year reign of terror.

    Alexandros Giotopoulos faces 21 life sentences, the longest term in Greek legal history

    Last week, the court found the two leaders and 13 other members of the radical Marxist group guilty of about 2500 crimes, including multiple murders, bombings and bank robberies.

    Four defendants were acquitted. 

    Their convictions removed a major security threat ahead of the Athens Olympic Games next August. 

    Judge Michalis Margaritis, presiding over a three-judge panel, handed down sentences one by one for each of the 19 murder cases in the marathon trial. 

    The mastermind, Alexandros Giotopoulos, 59, found guilty of plotting 19 murders, faces a possible total of 21 life sentences, the longest term in Greek legal history, while top hitman Dimitris Koufodinas, found guilty of 13 murders, faces up to 13 life terms.

    End to security threat

    The Greek authorities hailed the convictions as the end of the biggest domestic security threat facing the country as it prepares to host the Athens Olympics next August. 

    The close-knit Marxist group carried out a series of killings and bomb attacks dating back to 1975, baffling police until a bungled bombing in 2002 led to the arrest of one member and then to further arrests. 

    November 17, named from the date of a 1973 student uprising crushed with tanks by the military junta that ruled Greece between 1967-74, claimed 23 killings, starting with the shooting of Athens CIA station chief Jack Welch in 1975.

    SOURCE: Reuters


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    'Money can't buy us': Mapping Canada's oil pipeline battle

    'Money can't buy us': Mapping Canada's oil pipeline battle

    We travel more than 2,000km and visit communities along the route of the oil pipeline that cuts across Indigenous land.

    Women under ISIL: The wives

    Women under ISIL: The wives

    Women married to ISIL fighters share accounts of being made to watch executions and strap explosives to other women.

    Diplomats for sale: How an ambassadorship was bought and lost

    Diplomats for sale: How an ambassadorship was bought and lost

    The story of Ali Reza Monfared, the Iranian who tried to buy diplomatic immunity after embezzling millions of dollars.