NEWS

Xeros ‘repented at death’s door’

Launching a new round of objections yesterday, as the trial of 19 suspected November 17 terrorists entered its third week, defense lawyers appealed for their clients’ initial testimonies to be discounted as having resulted from psychological torture. All three Xeros brothers in the dock – Savvas, Christodoulos and Vassilis, whose father is an orthodox priest – claimed they had been coerced into confessing, after their summer arrests, to participation in the far left-wing group’s activities. Icon-painter Savvas Xeros, 41, said he had been given mood-altering drugs during his sojourn at the Athens Evangelismos hospital, where he was treated after a bomb accidentally exploded in his hands at the end of June, triggering a string of arrests. «They had turned me into a child with no will,» he said. «Ever since I entered the (Evangelismos) intensive care unit, I have had trouble concentrating. They frazzled my brain.» But he made a point of thanking hospital doctors for having saved his life. His brother Christodoulos, a 45-year-old maker of musical instruments, also claimed to have been drugged. «As a result, I was unable to concentrate, I had no sense of what is right… and felt feelings of sympathy to my torturers,» he said. Another eight defendants, including 31-year-old Vassilis Xeros and alleged N17 mastermind Alexandros Yotopoulos, 59, also demanded that their initial testimonies should be discounted. But prosecutor Christos Lambrou rejected the Xeros brothers’ claims, arguing that in Savvas’s case, it was his upbringing that spoke. «He stopped functioning as a N17 member and the priest’s son awoke,» Lambrou said. «On death’s door… he repented… and wished to unburden his soul. He didn’t want to enter the other world with a weight on his soul.»