Confusion over N17 evidence

Three keys found in the possession of alleged November 17 mastermind Alexandros Yotopoulos match the locks on one of the terrorist group’s Athens hideouts, according to evidence presented at the N17 trial yesterday. Yesterday’s session, three months and a day after the trial opened in a courtroom inside the Athens Korydallos prison, also saw prosecutor Christos Lambrou withdraw alleged evidence against Yotopoulos submitted to the court a few hours earlier by his deputy, Vassilis Markis. Markis had presented a document that apparently linked the 59-year-old, Paris-born translator to a French woman, said to have taught French in Athens, and her husband through forged identity papers, and in particular a fake French driver’s license confiscated from Yotopoulos. The document was based on an «unofficial briefing by the French authorities.» The alleged terrorist mastermind’s lawyers dismissed the document as «suspicious,» implying that it pointed to unwarranted police surveillance of innocent citizens. Lambrou then said he was withdrawing it, as it bore no official stamp and its provenance was unspecified. «It was put in the prosecution files by mistake,» he said. The court was also presented with a report by police experts according to which three keys from a large bunch taken from the Athens flat of Yotopoulos’s French female companion, Maite Peynaud, opened the locks of the N17 hideout at 73 Damareos Street in Pangrati. Yotopoulos’s defense disputed this, claiming that the keys had been examined in the absence of a court official. They added that the whole bunch had been returned to Peynaud in late January, having been deemed of no value as evidence.

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