N17 suspects in anti-war stand

The trial of suspected members of the November 17 gang adjourned early yesterday at the request of defense lawyers, who referred to yesterday’s anti-war work stoppages and the problems they might have with transport. The court accepted the request. After the noon break, five of the defendants – self-confessed November 17 members Dimitris Koufodinas, Thomas Serifis, Vassilis Tzortzatos and Christodoulos Xeros, as well as Koufodinas’s wife, Angeliki Sotiropoulou, who has denied any involvement – refused to attend the proceedings, in solidarity, they said, with the anti-war protesters. Early in the morning Tzortzatos had read a statement against the war on Iraq and «the new colonialists of the US imperium,» warning that he would not attend the afternoon session. The presiding judge, Michalis Margaritis, decided not to use his right to bring the defendants to the court by force. Most of the defendants have claimed they should be tried for «political crimes,» a claim rejected by the court. This tactic was evident in today’s session, which was taken up by testimony from witnesses to a bomb explosion that hit a bus carrying anti-riot policemen, killing two, on November 26, 1985. Prosecutor Christos Lambrou asked Koufodinas to clarify a point on a proclamation by November 17 justifying the attack. Koufodinas tried to justify the attack as vengeance for the killing of a 15-year-old by a police officer and said that the culprit had got off with a light sentence. «I don’t care about that. I asked you something else,» Lambrou said. «Well, this is what I care about and will not answer any other question,» Koufodinas replied.

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