Nov17 leaders deny accusations and object to court

On the second day of the trial of 19 suspected members of the November 17 terrorist organization, prosecutors Christos Lambrou and Vassilis Markis finished reading the indictments. Following are excerpts from the pleas entered by alleged leader Alexandros Yotopoulos (who denies all involvement in the gang), suspected chief hit man Dimitris Koufodinas (who claims what he terms «political responsibility» for N17) and one of the group’s chief operatives, Savvas Xeros, who claimed his confessions were coerced. Alexandros Yotopoulos: «I reject the charges, of course. I am here because that is what the Americans and their collaborators in the government, who hate everything Greek, want. I come from a well-known left-wing family. I fought dynamically against the junta and was convicted of this by a military court. I placed a bomb in the American Embassy during the dictatorship. I did not cash in on my anti-dictatorship and anti-American activity and did not join any party, I did not collaborate. The indictment is a cheap Anglo-American fabrication… It is based on fabrications, on confessions extracted in intensive care units by people who were destroyed by psychotropic drugs and extortion. Clerks of the US ambassador created you and canceled you before you could even start judging. They voted in a special law to get you confused. You are hearing a political case, turning the Constitution into a rag. The aim is crystal clear: to judge political activity as a common crime, in order to cover up the crimes and the criminal oversights of the mechanisms that governed and govern Greece, in order to convict someone as the leader and to make it appear that the case is closed. You have to face the choice: Will you be the last cog in the cart of subservience or will you judge for your honor, the people and our culture. As for me, I will continue with my head high, as I have lived.» (Presiding judge Michalis Margaritis responded: «You can be sure we will judge in the way you mentioned last.») Dimitris Koufodinas: «I consider this trial a trial under emergency measures… a political trial… My stand during the proceedings will be consistent with my statement undertaking political responsibility for Revolutionary Organization November 17’s actions. I reject the indictment and will refer to this in my testimony.» Savvas Xeros (in a statement read by the judge): «I consider your court incompetent, prejudiced and thus unjust and illegal. Incompetent because it is called on to judge political actions, on which the people and history are the only ones competent to judge… My confessions were extracted while I was being held for 40 days, violating every law, confined, with my eyes closed. [He was injured by a bomb he was carrying.] I will not ask for special treatment nor will I go to any European Court nor appeal against your decision.»

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