NEWS

Terror suspects’ trial halted again

The trial of 13 suspected members of the Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire urban guerrilla group was adjourned for the second time in as many days on Tuesday after most of the defendants, and their lawyers, failed to turn up in court.

Only four of the defendants? 18 court-appointed lawyers appeared before the presiding judge. They informed her they could not take on the case because their clients did not acknowledge them as their legal counsel.

The six defendants being held in custody refused to attend the session, while the three defendants who did – Manolis Yiospas, Nikos Vogiatzakis and Errikos Rallis, said they also rejected their court-appointed lawyers.

The three defendants, who are out on bail, along with the some of the suspects? parents asked the judge to delay the trial for a few days so they could speak to the other six. But the judge decided that the trial should resume on Thursday. She asked for the prosecutor?s office and the Athens Bar Association to determine why several court-appointed lawyers refused to take on the case.

The defendants have threatened to go on hunger strike unless the judge satisfies two key demands – that visitors to the public gallery do not have their police identification cards retained by authorities and that the court proceedings be recorded (the procedure had been forgone to save money).

Monday?s session of the trial, which started last week, had descended into farce when the nine suspects in court (four are being tried in absentia) dismissed their lawyers. Police officers scuffled with people in the public gallery and security guards chased some of the defendants as they were leaving the courtroom, fearing an escape attempt.

Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire has claimed responsibility for a string of bloodless attacks on public buildings and politicians? homes over the past two years