NEWS

Bakoyianni confronts N17 suspect

Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyianni yesterday confronted in court a suspected top member of the November 17 terrorist group that assassinated her husband, conservative MP Pavlos Bakoyiannis, nearly 14 years ago in the city center. «Why did you kill Bakoyiannis?» she asked Dimitris Koufodinas, a 45-year-old beekeeper suspected of having been the extreme left-wing group’s chief assassin. «Read our proclamation,» Koufodinas retorted. «It sets out the reasons very well.» After the September 26, 1989 assassination in the entrance to the Kolonaki block of flats where Bakoyiannis had his office, N17 claimed it had killed the New Democracy MP for his alleged links with banker Giorgos Koskotas, who was at the heart of a massive corruption and embezzlement scandal that had brought down Andreas Papandreou’s socialist government a couple of months before the attack. But Bakoyiannis’s widow, who is also a leading New Democracy MP, told the court – which has been sitting since March 3 in the Athens Korydallos Prison where all 19 N17 defendants are held – that her husband had been killed either because he had been investigating local terrorist groups, or to stop his efforts to bring together left- and right-wing parties. «The cause [of Bakoyiannis’s assassination] has been torturing all of us, and I hope this trial can help provide some answers,» she said. «There may have been information that he knew something. I know he was investigating the matter, as for him terrorism was tantamount to fascism.» «The second reason… was that terrorists cannot bear the rationale of the Right making an alliance with the Left, for these people had not experienced the pain of civil war.» Bakoyianni said her husband’s killers were «unmanly cowards,» and «people of the lowest level.» «They shot in the back an unarmed man whom they lacked the courage to look in the eye, to respond to his greeting,» she said. An eyewitness testified that he recognized the voice of a man he had seen in the building shouting at a screaming cleaner to be quiet as that of N17 suspect Savvas Xeros. He also identified a second man at the scene as defendant Iraklis Costaris.