Peynaud: I knew him as Michalis

Marie-Therese Peynaud, the longtime companion of Alexandros Yotopoulos, told the court trying November 17 suspects yesterday that she had known the group’s alleged mastermind only by his alias, that he was innocent and that she could not condemn N17 as long as there was violence in the world. Peynaud, 49, met Yotopoulos (now 59) at a demonstration in Paris in 1973 and in 1978 they decided to live in Greece. She taught French and he worked as a translator, she told the court. She found out his real name from television when he was arrested last July 17 and she was visiting a friend on Hydra, she said. «It is logical that he should have changed his name. He had undertaken dynamic action during the dictatorship, he had been convicted in absentia by a military court, and the French authorities, who had found material belonging to an organization of which he was a member, were looking for him. He kept this name after the fall of the dictatorship. I will not say that there was democracy, because I don’t believe there was a return to democracy,» Peynaud said. She described N17, which has claimed responsibility for the murder of 23 people between 1975 and 2002, as an extreme left-wing revolutionary organization, whose ideas she agreed with but not its methods. «There is terrorism, but it is that of imperialism, of the American superpower and the bombs on Iraq, Yugoslavia and Afghanistan,» she said. «I cannot condemn N17 or any other such organization, which has some ideal, until violence which crushes the world is wiped out.» Writer Victor Anagnostopoulos suggested a conspiracy against his comrade in the LEA and May 28 anti-junta groups, saying that months before Yotopoulos’s arrest a British agent told him «they considered Yotopoulos guilty and I was next.»

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