'I 've had no contact' with Xeros, lawyer says as arrest warrant is issued

The lawyer of convicted November 17 terrorist Christodoulos Xeros, who remains at large after violating a prison furlough, said Friday he has not spoken to his client since his escape.

“I 've had no contact with him,” Frangiskos Ragousis told Antenna TV.

He said however that he stood behind his client's decisions.

“We did not take this decision together. But I stand behind his decision. I cannot come out and say that I condemn this action,” Ragousis said.

An arrest warrant was issued for Xeros after his 9-day officially expired late Thursday.

Xeros was convicted in 2003, along with two of his brothers, of belonging to the November 17 urban guerrilla group, which killed 23 people – including foreign diplomats, policemen and businessmen – between 1975 and 2000. Xeros, who is serving six life sentences, vanished while on New Year's leave from Korydallos prison in Athens.

A police investigation that is trying to piece together Xeros’s movements since Sunday, which was the last time he reported to police in Halkidiki, northern Greece, in line with his furlough obligations, suggests the 55-year-old went to Thessaloniki before traveling on to Athens, where he visited his sister at her home near Attikis Square. The teacher, who Xeros is believed to have met during a visit to his native island of Icaria, is said to live in the same area.

Police believe that Xeros traveled to Athens in a car being driven by his nephew and sources indicated on Thursday that the pair can be seen in footage from a security camera at one of the toll gates on the Athens-Thessaloniki national highway.

Justice Minister Haralambos Athanasiou and Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias visited the Maximos Mansion on Thursday evening to brief Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on the progress of the investigation.