Last N17 murder testimonies

Concluding its hearings of prosecution witnesses in connection with the killings carried out by November 17 terrorists, the Athens court trying 19 suspected group members yesterday looked into the 1983 assassination of a Greek-American US Navy captain and his Greek driver. The court, which started its proceedings on March 3, will not sit today due to a lawyers’ strike, while on Monday the prosecution’s material evidence – mainly items found in two of the group’s Athens safe houses – will be examined. Also on Monday, presiding judge Michalis Margaritis has summoned former senior police officers to testify in connection with the shadowy Louzis Riancourt Street affair in 1992, when counterterrorism officials claimed to have come close to making their first N17 arrests. Although this did not happen for another 10 years, a substantial reward on offer for information leading to an arrest was paid out. On Thursday, the first of some 300 defense witnesses summoned are due to start testifying. Yesterday, the children of both US Navy Captain George Tsantes and his driver, Nikos Veloutsos, appeared in court. Stephanie Tsantes, 37, a US district attorney, denied that her father had been involved in any way with the installation of US nuclear missiles in Italy, as N17 had claimed, and said her father’s killing had left her frightened to visit Greece. The Tsantes family hails from Icaria, from where three N17 defendants also trace their descent. «We were brought up to feel proud that we were Greek,» she said. «This murder deprived us of that feeling.» Tsantes’s killers have not been identified. Alleged N17 mastermind Alexandros Yotopoulos has been charged with instigating the killing.