NEWS

Savvas Xeros walks out of N17 trial

The court trying 19 suspected members of the November 17 gang yesterday rejected Savvas Xeros’s petition for them to disregard his confessions to police and judicial officials as he was recovering last year from serious injuries caused by a bomb he was carrying. The three-judge court in Korydallos Prison rejected Xeros’s claims that he had been subjected to mood-altering drugs and «tortured» to make his confessions. The court noted that Xeros had not been given such drugs, was of clear mind during his testimony and had added fresh details to his confessions and description of the actions of others when, with a new lawyer, he had testified before the investigating judge. Xeros, a 42-year-old icon painter whose injury and confessions gave police their first lead in the fight against November 17, reacted furiously, claiming he saw «the invisible presence of secret services.» His confessions, he said, «do not correspond with the truth and I forbid you to use them. At Evangelismos (hospital) there was an orgy of illegality, modern torture was performed.» He refused to testify, claiming, «Whatever I say, you will not take it into account.» In his attempt to persuade Xeros to stand by his testimony, prosecutor Christos Lambrou stood up, saying he wanted to show respect for the defendant for his actions in the days after his injury by the bomb on June 29, 2002. «I stand up to tell you this: I believe you showed grandeur of spirit. I bow before that decision of yours. You contributed to lawful order, to your homeland, to the nation. I rise to express honor for that action of yours,» Lambrou said. He said he believed Dimitris Koufodinas, who is understood to be N17’s chief of operations, had persuaded Xeros to change his tune. «You will not know where to turn. Stay where you were, try to turn back. Only that will save your life,» Lambrou said. But Xeros was adamant. «I dedicated my life elsewhere when I was a child,» he said. «For me this process ends today. I don’t care if I am to spend the rest of my life in prison. You won’t tempt me with lollipops.» He then walked out. The court will decide today whether to force him to return.