Probe into New Year's prison 'party'

As search continues for missing N17 convict, row breaks out between ND and SYRIZA

As police continued a search on Wednesday for Christodoulos Xeros, a convicted member of the disbanded November 17 guerrilla organization who failed to report to police during a furlough, a row broke out between ruling conservative New Democracy and main leftist opposition SYRIZA, with the former accusing the latter of having “well-known links to terrorism.”

Meanwhile, Justice Minister Haralambos Athanasiou called for the temporary suspension of 10 Korydallos Prison employees who had been on duty on December 31 following reports that Xeros held a party in the high-security jail with convicted members of another guerrilla group, Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire.

The staff are to remain suspended until a prosecutor probes the claims. Video footage from the prison on the night in question is to be scrutinized.

The disappearance of Xeros – and of convicted Revolutionary Struggle leader Nikos Maziotis in 2012 – prompted Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias to indirectly criticize the judiciary on Tuesday. On Wednesday the union of prosecutors hit back, noting that “if the legislator deems the institution is in need of revision, the Constitution allows him to revise it.”

The Xeros affair triggered another tense exchange between New Democracy and SYRIZA after ND said in a statement that “SYRIZA’s relations to terrorism are well known” and noted the party “did not utter a word about the escape of the murderer Christodoulos Xeros.” SYRIZA retorted that “the ridiculousness of the government has no bounds.”

According to police statistics, at total of 1,889 furloughs were approved for inmates in the first half of 2013 and 28 convicts violated the terms of their leave.