A five-member criminal appeals court ruled on Friday that Tasos Theofilou, who had been serving a 25-year prison sentence for armed robbery, was innocent of all charges.
Theofilou had been in prison since his arrest in connection to a deadly armed robbery on the Aegean island of Paros in 2012, and the final ruling on his case yesterday cleared the way for him to walk free.
He was also acquitted of the charge of being a member of the Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire urban guerrilla group, which has accepted responsibility for a series of bombings and attacks over the years.
The decision was a close one, with only three of the five judges voting for his exoneration and two for his conviction. Even the two judges who backed his conviction had different stances: One wanted Theofilou convicted for a string of charges ranging from robbery and murder to membership of a terrorist organization while the other wanted him convicted on fewer charges, chiefly robbery.
If the appeals court had accepted a prosecutor’s proposal, Theofilou could have faced a life sentence.
Theofilou himself had denied all the charges and claimed to have been persecuted for “being an anarchist.”
On Thursday night, anarchists vandalized the facade of a SYRIZA office in the Kalamaria region of Thessaloniki with red paint to express solidarity with Theofilou.
A similar incident occurred earlier at a SYRIZA office in the Evosmos district of Thessaloniki.