NEWS

Koufodinas defends his wife

November 17 terrorists spent three months planning the June 2000 assassination of Britain’s military attache in Athens, one of Brig. Stephen Saunders’s alleged killers said yesterday in a bid to discredit a witness who linked his wife with the hit. On Monday, Theodossia Mania told the court – which has been meeting since March 3 in a Korydallos Prison courtroom – that she saw N17’s suspected chief assassin, beekeeper Dimitris Koufodinas, 45, and his wife Angeliki Sotiropoulou surveying the scene of the crime on the eve of the attack. «We had been carefully studying the area for three months,» Koufodinas said. «Would we really have waited for the day before the attack to send the group’s chief strategist and his wife to check out the spot?» Koufodinas and Sotiropoulou – the only woman among the 19 defendants – married in prison after a long relationship. «Angeliki had nothing to do with the group’s activities, and the fact that she has been brought here to exert pressure on me, as blackmail, as punishment, out of hatred and vengefulness against anyone close to me,» Koufodinas said. On Monday, Sotiropoulou refused to let Mania have a closer look at her, saying she felt like beating up the witness. Yesterday, a policewoman identified N17 suspects Savvas Xeros and Vassilis Tzortzatos as the two men who posed as a policeman and a crime suspect, respectively, to gain entry to the Vyronas police station in Athens during a 1988 raid. Another four hooded group members took part in the attack, during which a number of weapons were taken. Also yesterday, prosecutor Christos Lambrou said the authors of N17’s proclamations needed psychiatric treatment. «I do not think people as serious as us should bother with the proclamations,» he said.