NEWS

Lesperoglou says he was framed

Avraam Lesperoglou, who is on trial for suspected terrorist activities, told an Athens court yesterday that he has no connection with a series of killings that took place in 1985, claiming that he was out of the country at the time. Lesperoglou, 46, claimed he was the victim of a frameup aimed at damaging the Palestinian cause. I have denied all the charges since the start of the judicial process. I have absolutely no connection with the case. It is a frameup, Lesperoglou told the court. He is charged with involvement in the murder of prosecutor Giorgos Theofanopoulos in April 1985 and, the following month, an armed robbery in which two security guards died and a shootout in which Anti-State Struggle leader Christos Tsoutsouvis and three police officers died. Lesperoglou, who spent 17 years on the run before being arrested at Athens airport when he returned with a false name in December 1999, said that he was living in the Netherlands at the time of the killings. When I heard the charges against me I was terrified, he said. That’s why I did not return. He suggested that he was the scapegoat of police who wanted to incriminate the Palestinian movement with which he was connected. In his trial last year for the attempted murder of a police officer in 1982, he said that he had lent his identity card to a Palestinian fighter and was the victim of mistaken identity. Prosecutor Aikaterini Pistoli is to propose tomorrow whether the three judges and four jurors should find Lesperoglou guilty. Witnesses have said that they did not recognize him.