NEWS

Suspect said to link three terror groups

The effort to root out domestic terrorist groups is expected to enter a new phase in the next few days with the arrest of a 45-year-old university professor suspected of having been a member of November 17 and at least two other groups – May 1 and Revolutionary Popular Struggle (ELA). Tracking down this suspect is a significant development, sources said, as he appears to prove the suspicion that the terrorist groups were closely interlinked. The man, who has not been named but is said to be a professor at the University of the Aegean working on a contract basis, was described by November 17 suspect Savvas Xeros in a statement as having been an early member. «There was another person, whom they called ‘Parkinson.’ He was a member before me and he left the organization after a robbery.» The gang members are said to have called the suspect «Parkinson,» after the disease that causes people to shake, because during an armed robbery his hands trembled with fright. The suspect is said to have been a student of economics at Athens Law School in the late 1970s and early 1980s, where he met Dimitris Koufodinas, who recruited him into November 17. Koufodinas is one of 18 suspects in Korydallos Prison. «Parkinson» is suspected of having been a member of Nov17 from 1980 to 1983. After this period, police say, the trembling bank robber re-emerged as a merciless killer for the May 1 gang. He is suspected of being the gunman who seriously injured General Confederation of Greek Labor (GSEE) President Giorgos Raftopoulos in June 1987 and who killed prosecutor Anastasios Vernardos in January 1989. Witnesses said the gunman shot the prosecutor at point-blank range and then, as the victim collapsed on the sidewalk, pulled him up by the hair and fired into his head. The same suspect is said to have been active in ELA in 1990-92, when ELA and May 1 signed joint proclamations. ELA, which first appeared in 1975, a few months before November 17, showed unprecedented activity. Also, police sources say they have solved the murder of police officer Petros Babalis. A group calling itself June ’78 claimed the murder in 1978. In 1985, ELA claimed it, suggesting the other gang was an offshoot.