NEWS

Robbery suspects charged

Police continued to round up suspects connected to Monday's attempted robbery of a National Bank of Greece branch, which left a bank guard and one of the thieves seriously injured. An Athens lower court prosecutor yesterday brought charges of robbery, attempted murder and possession, and use of firearms against the injured robber, 28-year-old technical college student Yiannis Dimitrakis and 30-year-old Simeon Seisidis, who remains at large and whose photo has been distributed to the media by police. Like Dimitrakis, Seisidis is said to be close to anarchist groups and has had run-ins with the police. He has been charged with car arson in 1994 and 1995, and in November 1995 was part of a massive round-up of 500 people, many of them underage, who had occupied the National Technical University of Athens for a night. He was arrested for allegedly participating in a June 2000 armed bank robbery and sentenced to five years' imprisonment, but was released pending an appeal. Last night, police released a 25-year-old man, said to be an acquaintance of Dimitrakis's, whom they suspected of taking part in Monday's robbery. The suspect, who was arrested in Gyzi in central Athens, was released after a nine-hour interrogation because no incriminating evidence was found against him. This is a setback for police, who had let it be known that all other participants besides Dimitrakis had been recognized by security cameras and that their arrest was only a matter of time. Late on Thursday night, Dimitrakis was interrogated by police officers and prosecutor Ioannis Diotis, who had previously been involved in counter-terrorism operations and who has, in fact, displaced his successor, Dimitris Asprogerakas. The police officers and Diotis were allowed to see Dimitriadis by doctors at the Athens General Hospital. This drew an immediate protest by the «Network for Political and Social Rights,» a grouping with left-wing ties which, under the guise of protecting human rights, has expressed support for the jailed terrorists of the November 17 gang. Police are concerned that the robbers may have ties to new terrorist organizations ready, they say, to continue the bloody campaigns of November 17 and other now-defunct groups.

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