NEWS

Terror suspect, 23, linked to letter bomb campaign

A 23-year-old man arrested in the northern Athens suburb of Nea Kifissia on Wednesday after officers found a nine-millimeter Glock pistol and a replica hand grenade in his possession was on Thursday due to face a magistrate handling an investigation into the activities of the Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire guerrilla group, police said.

The man is one of four suspects being sought by police for suspected membership of the organization. The four are being tried in absentia along with another nine suspects who have been detained.

The 23-year-old is also believed to have played a part in last November?s letter bomb campaign that targeted several foreign embassies in Athens and caused international alarm when one of the packages reached the Berlin office of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Counterterrorism officers were inspecting the weapons found in the 23-year-old?s possession as well as the contents of a pen camera he had been carrying. Police also were examining an apartment in the suburb of Nea Philadelphia where the suspect is believed to have been residing in recent months.

The trial of 13 suspected members of Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire resumed on Thursday with the presiding judge appointing a third set of lawyers for the defendants who refused to appear in court. The trial was adjourned twice earlier this week after most of the defendants and their lawyers failed to turn up in court. 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 curb

expenses).