N17 terrorists coming up for release

Nine years after being found guilty both in their original trials and their appeal hearings, convicted members of the November 17 terrorist organization are now coming up for release.

Of the 20 people arrested for the role in the group, which was active from 1975 to 2002 and responsible for the deaths of 23 people, beginning with the killing of CIA station chief Richard Welch, eight still have time to serve after the early release of Vassilis Xeros last week, who had served two-fifths of his overall 25-year sentence. One of three brothers arrested in 2002, Xeros was released on parole by the Halkidiki Council of Misdemeanors Court Judges, after showing good behavior at the Kassandra Farm Prison. The younger of the three brothers, the council found, was always prompt with his five-day furloughs and worked off a sizable chunk of his sentence as one day of work at the farm prison counts for two days of time served.

The next convicts up for parole are Costas Telios and Patroklos Tselentis, who have been given a reprieve from serving life sentences as the council found them to be truly remorseful for their actions. Both men enjoy five-day furloughs, while Tselentis works at the prison bakery and is expected to be released by the end of 2011. Telios is at the prison hospital and may be out by early 2012.

The N17 members who have already been released after serving their sentences are: Costas Karatsolis, who had received a 17-year sentence, Sotiris Kondylis (11 years), and Thomas Serifis and Dionysis Georgiadis (eight years each). Nikos Papanastasiou and Pavlos Serifis saw the charges against them expunged, while Theologos Paradellis, Anestis Papanastasiou, Yiannis Serifis and Angeliki Sotiropoulou were found not guilty.

Serving life sentences at Korydallos Prison are the higher-ranking members of the terrorist group: Alexandros Yotopoulos (17 consecutive life sentences, plus 25 years for being the mastermind of the group), Dimitris Koufodinas (11 life sentences plus 25 years), Christodoulos Xeros (six life sentences plus 25 years), Savvas Xeros (five life sentences plus 25 years), Vassilis Tzortzatos (four life sentences plus 25 years) and Iraklis Kostaris, who is serving one life sentence.

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