Judge opens third terror front

Two months after the arrest of four suspected members of the ELA group and just over a month after the trial of 19 alleged November 17 terrorists began, the investigating judge who handled both cases yesterday charged a man with membership in a third, smaller left-wing group. Leonidas Zervobeakos charged civil servant Michalis Kassimis, 58, with complicity in the 1987 attempted murder of a top unionist for which May 1, a group that merged with ELA in 1990, had claimed responsibility. Kassimis’s brother, Christos, believed to have been an ELA (Revolutionary Popular Struggle) founding member, was killed 26 years ago during a shootout with policemen in Rendi, southwestern Athens. Michalis Kassimis, who has been summoned to testify before Zervobeakos this morning, was initially questioned in connection with the June 1987 attack on the chairman of the General Confederation of Greek Labor, Giorgos Raftopoulos, in central Athens, on the basis of an eyewitness’s account of having seen his car parked at the scene of the shooting. But he was never charged, having convinced the authorities that at the time of the attack he was working at his office at the EOMMEX state organization for small and medium-sized enterprises. Police also questioned unionist Yiannis Serifis, one of the N17 defendants, in connection with the Raftopoulos attack. May 1 claimed responsibility for the January 1989 Athens killing of Supreme Court prosecutor Anastassios Vernardos and the April 1989 bomb attack on Supreme Court judge Samouil Samouil. Meanwhile, the N17 trial continued yesterday with testimonies by witnesses to the 1989 assassination of conservative MP Pavlos Bakoyiannis and the 1990 attempted killing of businessman Vardis Vardinoyiannis.