First witnesses testify on N17

Eleven days after the trial of 19 suspected November 17 terrorists opened in a special Korydallos prison court, the first witnesses testified yesterday in connection with two of the extreme left-wing group’s attacks in 1984. Earlier, the three-judge criminal court rejected the last of a series of defense appeals, this time for the initial testimonies of 10 suspects to be discounted. In many cases, lawyers had argued that the testimonies – in which some of the suspects confessed to crimes which they later denied – were the result of psychological torture and mood-altering medication. The court also threw out objections to the use of fingerprinting and handwriting reports. Defense lawyers had objected to the fact that the names of the experts who compiled the reports were not made public. However, presiding judge Michalis Margaritis said that, if the defendants’ torture claims prove to be substantiated, the testimonies will not be taken into account. The court proceeded to hear the testimonies of witnesses of the April 3, 1984 attempted killing of US sergeant Robert Judd in Aghios Dimitrios, southern Athens, and the December 24, 1984 murder of police guard Christos Matis during a bank heist in Ano Petralona. Judd himself did not appear in court, while neither of the other two, Greek witnesses of his attempted killing, proved to be in a position to identify his attackers after 19 years. The statute of limitation for criminal cases is 20 years. Eight witnesses testified in connection with Matis’s murder, but only one was able to identify one of the defendants, alleged chief N17 hitman Dimitris Koufodinas, who is accused of having pulled the trigger, as having been present at the scene. And he said Koufodinas did not kill Matis.

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