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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2002-07-19

Macedonian Press Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Macedonian Press Agency at and

MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY Thessaloniki, July 19, 2002








  • [01] GIOTOPOULOS WON'T CRACK The men of the anti-terrorism squad are continuing their exhausting questioning of Alexandros Giotopoulos, who was arrested on Wednesday night on the island of Lipsi, and who the Greek Police consider the mind behind the organization and writer of the de clarations of "November 17".

    The 60-year-old professor admitted that he had been using a false identity, with the name Michalis Economou, for years, while his fingerprints were found in the Patmos st. hideout.

    According to information however, Alexandros Giotopoulos has not yet confessed his participation in "November 17", despite the witness accounts brought in by the security police officers, lab research results and other evidence implicating him in the ter rorism organization.

    Giotopoulos was examined along with Christodoulos Xeros, still denying that he was behind the organization, as the police believe.

    Late last night Alexandros Giotopoulos' French wife, Marie - Terez Pinot was brought in to the Attica General Police Direction. Giotopoulos' wife has serious health problems and was working at the Greek French College of Athens. She is being questioned i n relation to her husband's activities.

    Meanwhile, the residents of Lipsi cannot come to terms with the fact that the man that took vacations on their island for the past few years held such a senior position in the organization. There are still police officers in Lipsi who are collecting info rmation and findings from Alexandros Giotopoulos' villa.

    At the same time, the police have arrested Christodoulos and Vassilis Xeros and Dionysis Georgiadis for participation in N17. All three have until Sunday to make their statement to the examiner, while they have not asked for a defense attorney to be appo inted by the court.

    Christodoulos Xeros has admitted to participating in 10 killings, 53 injuries of police officers and soldiers, 5 attempted homicides, three bombings and 9 robberies. Vassilis Xeros admitted participating in the killings of shipowner Peratikos and Brigadi er Saunders, along with another 10 bombings and 4 robberies. Dionysis Georgiadis confessed he participated in placing a homemade bomb at a bank, one robbery, and renting the hideout on Damareos st.

    Two other individuals were taken to the Attica security and are being questioned in relation to connections with November 17 activities. They are Vasilios Tzortzatos and Theologos Psaradelis who were brought in from Chiliado, Evia.

    According to information, Vassilios Tzortzatos is considered to have participated in the killing of Pavlos Bakoyannis and was under surveillance by the anti-terrorism squad during 1993-1994 as a suspect, but no evidence was found against him.

    Theologos Psaradelis' participation is being examined, but he has participated in more minor cases, such as robberies.

    Still evading the police is Dimitris Koufontinas, who is wanted as the operational chief of "November 17". According to the Security Police he must have accompanied Savvas Xeros on June 29 in Piraeus, and must have been present when the bomb exploded in the 40-year-old's hands.

    The men of the anti-terrorism squad believe that Dimitris Koufontinas is one of the most important members of N17 and knew the Head of the organization. They also appreciated that he is hiding in another hideout and that they will soon arrest him.

  • [02] SIMITIS: LIGHT ON ALL ASPECTS OF TERRORISM His categorical assurance that a dazzling light will shine over all aspects of terrorism, in order to further consolidate the safety of the Greek people, and that efforts for the complete eradication of the phenomenon will continue responsibly and with r espect to the Constitution, was given today by Prime Minister Kostas Simitis, in his statements on new developments in the investigations for the eradication of "N17".

    Mr. Simitis supported that terrorism was a stain for the political transition and a wound for Democracy, and he stressed that there is no ideology that can legalize murder. He stated that his aim is for Democracy to become even more powerful and called t he parties, the media and the people once more, to hold a sensible and responsible position in regards to the efforts to eradicate terrorism, warning that those reproducing and cultivating unsubstantiated rumors will be exposed.

    Finally, he expressed his complete disagreement with the stigmatizing of any social and political area and especially that of the Left, saying that violence in Greece has many different roots. "A victory over terrorism will be a victory for Democracy", e nded the Prime Minister.

  • [03] TERRORISM: PASOK&ND SATISFIED - KKE&COALITION RESERVED His complete satisfaction was expressed by the Prime Minister - in discussions with his associates - on the way the political leadership of the Ministry of Public Order has handled the operational and communicational sector of the "November 17" case. Mr.

    Simitis - who repeated his support and trust in Mr. Chrysochoidis during the meeting of the communicational staff - insisted on the proper and careful procedures that have been followed so far, while he expressed his certainty that "the investigations wi ll go all the way to the end".

    It's a long way

    The statements of the Government Spokesperson were on the same wavelength. He stressed that the terrorism issue is an issue that will last and that all the events of the past 27 years will be fully revealed in reverse order. "We are determined to reach t he end" he repeated. Yesterday, the government decided to react to the scenarios implicating "November 17" with PASOK in a dynamic way, attributing political interests to those moves.

    Mr. Protopapas spoke of ridiculous publications and scenarios coming from "individuals and centers connected with the same political forces that have been trying to prove connections between PASOK and "November 17" for the past 20 years. "It is an old re cipe for mud slinging that they are trying to recreate with new ingredients. It surpasses the limits of ridiculousness".

    Laliotis attack

    The issue was also referred to by Mr. Laliotis, who, speaking to Sky TV, made mention of "certain people who want to play games they have played in the past, and to make connections between terrorism and PASOK", comparing the recent Niles statements with

    the statements of ND staff members.

    New Democracy also seems to be satisfied with the progress of investigations on the terrorism issue, according to ND Spokesperson Thodoris Roussopoulos, drawing on the statements of the Chief of Greek Police, yesterday.

    "New Democracy supports the effort of the authorities to eradicate the plague of terrorism in Greece", said Mr. Roussopoulos, while at the same time he referred to the struggle his party has been making for decades, both politically and institutionally, with the antiterrorism law.

    "The whole Greek people is awaiting the complete solving of this very serious case", added Press Spokesperson of ND.

    On the other hand, the parties of the Left are retaining a more reserved position on the terrorism issue, with KKE (Greek Communist Party) ahead of all, while the Coalition of the Left asked for the case of "November 17" to be fully solved, with respect to the constitutional framework. In statements the Secretary General of the KKE, Aleka Papariga, appreciated that it is very possible that N17 is no longer of any use in Greece, but could be used anew, to adopt even stricter terrorism laws.

    "The KKE will not allow for the Greek people's major problems to be forgotten, due to the events of the past few days", and she stressed that the Greek people must not forget the serious social-democratic and political problems it has.

    "Every day new people are brought in - arrested - questioned. We want to repeat what we said from the very first moment. For the past 27 years, for us, "November 17" was not characterized by the use of the portraits of Marx, Che, and Aris Velouchiotis, o r by the supposed revolutionary-Left wing style of their proclamations", commented Mr. Papariga.

    The Coalition appreciated that the recent statements of the Chief of Police had many impressive elements concerning the progress of investigations leading to the eradication of the organization. The Coalition repeated its positions that "the investigatio n for the location and punishment of all those responsible for the criminal activity of this organization, must move forward, unhindered, in depth with respect for the constitutional framework and without the interjection of irresponsible scenario writers ".

    The party appreciated that the whole of Greek society demands the solving of the case, responsible informing and application of the rules of social Law.

  • [04] GIOTOPOULOS WILL APPEAR BEFORE THE PROSECUTOR. Alexandros Giotopoulos will appear before a prosecutor and an examining judge tomorrow at the latest, according to information from Justice Ministry sources. Giotopoulos was arrested in the Aegean island of Lipsi and was characterized by the Greek Police

    Chief as the mastermind of terrorist organization "17 November".

    He has admitted that he used the name, Michalis Economou because he was a draft-dodger. However, he rejects any involvement in "17 November" and protests against his detention characterizing it illegal. He also stated that he wants to be represented by a


    According to a press report published on the Athens newspaper "Ethnos", Christodoulos Xiros and Alexandros Giotopoulos were cross-examined and Xiros identified Giotopoulos as "Lambros" of "17 November" who gave him the orders to act. However, Giotopoulos

    maintained that he never met Christodoulos Xiros.

    Judicial sources believe that Giotopoulos will choose to confess participation in "17 November" in a public trial seeking to have his case widely publicized.

    Meanwhile, Vasilios Tzortzatos and Theologos Psaradelis, who were arrested in Evia yesterday, have allegedly admitted participation in "17 November".

  • [05] CHRISOCHOIDIS WILL BRIEF THE PRESIDENT AND THE POLITICAL PARTY LEADERS Public Order Minister Michalis Chrisochoidis will brief the President of the Republic and the political party leaders on the developments concerning the break up of the terrorist organization "17 November".

    Greek government spokesman Christos Protopapas stated that Mr. Chrisochoidis will give a press conference on the issue on Tuesday.

    Referring to the stance of all the governments in Greece in the past 25 years, he said that they had the political will to combat terrorism regardless of the mistakes that were made. He also underlined that the political parties adopted a responsible sta nce on the issue.

    Mr. Protopapas denied the information according to which, members of the terrorist organization "17 November" will be extradited to the United States to be tried for crimes against American citizens.

  • [06] GIOTOPOULOS' WIFE VISITED THEIR APARTMENT IN ATHENS The wife of Alexandros Giotopoulos, Mari Therese Pinot, visited the apartment where she lived with her husband at 40 Voutza Street in Virona, Athens accompanied by a woman. She stayed in the apartment for a few minutes and left.

    Meanwhile, police have completed the search in the house of Giotopoulos in the Aegean island of Lipsi. According to information, the anti-terrorist squad has in its possession a large number of photographs which will be evaluated. However, no material wa s found to link Giotopoulos directly with the terrorist organization "17 November".

  • [07] THE ASE DROPPED TO ITS LOWEST LEVEL THIS YEAR The Athens Stock Exchange dropped today to its lowest level this year. The general index dropped to -1.41% at 2.123,51 points, while the volume of transactions was at 98.7 million Euro or 33.6 billion drachmas.

    Of the stocks trading today, just 41 recorded gains and 288 had losses, while the value of 46 stocks remained unchanged.

  • [08] GIOTOPOULOS, TZORTZATOS AND PSARADELIS APPEARED BEFORE THE PROSECUTOR Alexandros Giotopoulos, Vasilios Tzortzatos and Theologos Psaradelis, who are involved in the terrorist organization "17 November", appeared before the prosecutor today to be arraigned.

    They arrived at the courthouse at Evelpidon Street in Athens under tight security measures.

    For the record , Alexandros Giotopoulos, who is regarded to be the mastermind of the terrorist organization, has requested to be represented by a lawyer.

  • [09] GIOTOPOULOS DENIES ANY PARTICIPATION IN "17 NOVEMBER" Fifty-eight-year-old Alexandros Giotopoulos denied any participation in the terrorist organization "17 November". Giotopoulos together with Vasilios Tzortzatos and Theologos Psaradelis appeared today before the prosecutor. According to statements made by

    Greek Police spokesman Lefteris Economou, based on the evidence from the preliminary examination Giotopoulos participated in the terrorist organization "17 November" and had a leading role.

    Mr. Economou stated that members of "17 November" have identified Giotopoulos as the leader and mastermind of the organization, while his fingerprints were found on the manifesto issued after the assassination of Peratikos and in handwritten notes. In ad dition, his handwriting was identified by a graphology expert.

    Vasilios Tzortzatos, born in 1955, was proved to have a very big involvement in the criminal activities of the terrorist organization from 1985 until 1992. Tzortzatos, among others, was present in the Riancur Street incident on March 27, 1992 in Ambeloki pi, Athens, while he took part in the assassination of Pavlos Bakoyiannis. He has confessed participation in a total of 27 attacks in which a total of 9 people were killed. He also took part in 7 assassination attempts and 9 bomb and rocket attacks.

    Theologos Psaradelis, born in 1943, confessed that together with other members of "17 November" participated in a 1986 robbery, while it was established that he participated in another robbery in 1988.

    In addition, the Greek Police spokesman gave to publicity pictures of Alexandros Giotopoulos from 1972 until today.

    The prosecutor filed criminal charges against Giotopoulos, Tzortzatos and Psaradelis and afterwards, the three appeared before the examining judge. They requested and received more time to prepare their testimonies.


  • [10] U.S. EXTRADITION OF N17 - RELIEF OF RELATIVES Discussing the possibility of extraditing N17 members, responsible for the killing of US nationals, to the US, was considered premature by US State Department Press Spokesperson, Richard Boucher. However, he did not rule out the possibility completely.

    Boucher stated that US authorities are waiting to see how things develop in the specific issue, i.e. they want to see new information, arrests, and charges by the Greek authorities. As he said, the attacks of N17 have been part of the State Department's annual report on terrorism, and he expressed the satisfaction of the US government concerning the success of the Greek Police Authorities.

    He added that the US is cooperating with the Greek authorities on eradicating terrorism, but refused to comment on the course of investigations, on which he stated that the US government is expecting further updating.

    On the other side of the Atlantic, her satisfaction by the arrests of the killers of the Military Attache to the British Embassy in Athens, Brigadier Steven Saunders, who was shot by N17 two years ago, was expressed by his wife, who thanked the Greek Pol ice for their efforts.

    Heather Saunders stated, according to the BBC, that she could not imagine that something like this could happen so quickly, despite the assurances of the Scotland Yard, and she added that she is ready to confront her husband's killers and ask them "what they gained from their action".

  • [11] THE US STATE DEPARTMENT ON THE ARREST OF 17N MEMBERS The US State Department expressed satisfaction for the recent developments in the investigations aimed at breaking up the terrorist organization "17 November", according to the BBC.

    US State Department spokesman Richard Baucher left open the likelihood for Washington to request the extradition of those responsible for the assassinations of US citizens.

    However, Mr. Baucher characterized as premature any discussion on the issue.

  • [12] YIANNITSIS: THE INTERNATIONAL SITUATION IS FAVORABLE FOR A SOLUTION IN CYPRUS The belief that the international situation is favorable for a solution to the Cyprus problem, was expressed by Deputy Foreign Minister Tasos Yiannitsis. Mr. Yiannitsis conveyed the total support of the Greek people to the efforts made by Cyprus for the solution of the Cyprus problem and its accession into the European Union.

    In statements he made upon his arrival in Cyprus this afternoon, Mr. Yiannitsis stressed that these are days of mourning for all those who were lost heroically 28 years ago. Mr. Yiannitsis will represent the Greek government in the events for the anniver sary of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus.

  • [13] THE IOC ON THE ARRESTS OF 17N MEMBERS International Olympic Committee, IOC, spokesperson Ms. Gisele Davis speaking to the BBC Greek service stated that the arrests and arraignments of "17 November" terrorist organization members are steps toward the right direction, while she expressed optim ism that Athens will meet the security requirements during the Athens Olympic Games in 2004.

    Ms. Davis also stated that the IOC believes that the steps made in the effort to break up "17 November" are very important.

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