Nikos Pappas, anti-junta Navy commander, dies at 83

Nikos Pappas, the former Navy commander who led a mutiny against Greece’s junta shortly before the regime’s demise, died on Friday at the age of 83.

While commander of the Velos Navy vessel during a NATO exercise off the coast of Italy in May 1973, Pappas refused to return to Greece after hearing that several military officers had been arrested by the junta for their democratic views. Instead he sailed the ship to Italy where he and several Navy officers and crew of the Velos applied for political asylum.

The Velos, now a museum focusing on the struggle against the 1967-1974 military dictatorship, is moored at Palaio Faliro.

Political leaders paid homage to the late commander with President Karolos Papoulias saying that young Greeks could learn much from his example.

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