Judge calls for ‘truth’ on Nov17

The judge presiding over the trial of suspected members of November 17 yesterday appealed to the terrorist group’s alleged chief operative to tell the truth when he begins his testimony today, saying that «Greek society is waiting.» Dimitris Koufodinas, a 45-year-old beekeeper, faces 84 charges for his alleged involvement in 90 attacks by the gang. He has confessed to being a member of N17 and turned himself in to police headquarters in Athens on September 5. While accepting «political responsibility» for the actions of N17, Koufodinas has repeatedly said he will not name names nor give specific information regarding attacks by the group, which claimed the murders of 23 people between 1975 and its capture in 2002. Koufodinas, who has likened himself to the fighters in Greece’s War of Independence, is to be the first of the 19 defendants on trial in Korydallos Prison to take the stand. Yesterday was taken up mostly with procedural issues regarding protests by defendants and their lawyers. Judge Michalis Margaritis yesterday called on Koufodinas to help shed light on the group that operated in the shadows with impunity for 27 years. «Clash with the court if you must but do not clash with the truth,» Margaritis said. «I feel obliged to tell you that the court and Greek society is waiting for you, who accept being a member of the gang and gave yourself up, to answer certain questions as to what conditions gave rise to the creation of the group, what the ideological departure point of those who took part is and what psychological processes drove them from revolutionary ideology to personal violence and violations of the penal code,» he said. «The trial has historical importance for the group itself. I am waiting for you to explain all this, why the organization did what it did. You can say whatever you like… Do not be afraid to clash with the court.» Koufodinas’s lawyer, Gianna Kourtovic, accused the prosecutor of being biased against defense witnesses. «Leading personalities came through here and they were insulted,» she said. Margaritis noted that some of those witnesses had called the court’s members «puppets.»

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